A Norfolk landowner and Conservative politician who led the efforts to raise £10m to safeguard Norwich Cathedral was remembered in a moving service this morning.

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Representatives for the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the prime minister and more than 700 people paid their respects to Earl Ferrers, born Robert Washington Shirley, a former High Steward of Norwich Cathedral who died aged 83 this month.

The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, led the service, and said: “The word ‘gregarious’ might have been invented for him.”

He added: “Here we are saying cheerio to the best of chaps”.

There were readings from family members paying tribute to the man who sat in the House of Lords for more than 50 years as well as holding ministerial office under five Conservative prime ministers.

For more on the service, buy tomorrow’s paper.

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