Sir Geoffrey de Freitas
The sundials on the tower of St Margaret's church Westminster were the gift of Sir Geoffrey de Freitas. A plaque in the north porch of the church records the gift. On the exterior of the tower is a blue plate giving time corrections, with the names of the makers. They were completed in 1982 and designed by Christopher Daniel in collaboration with Edwin Russell. They were made by Oliver Gero of Messrs Brookbrae Ltd. and are of stainless steel painted blue. Originally they were placed on all four faces of the tower but in 2020 the original clock was re-instated on the north face. The inscription on the north face reads: Let the People Praise Thee, O God.
The plaque reads:
The sundials on the tower commemorate the Ecumenical Service held here on 16 November 1974 for the 20th annual session of the North Atlantic Assembly. They were given by the Rt. Hon. Sir Geoffrey de Freitas KCMG, President of the Assembly 1976-1978. Members of the Parliaments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were present at the service which was conducted by the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, assisted by clergy from the member countries of NATO. "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised" Psalm 113.v.3
Sir Geoffrey was born on 7th April 1913, a son of Sir Anthony de Freitas and his wife Maud. During the war he served in the RAF and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister 1945-1946. He was Member of Parliament for Lincoln and later served as British High Commissioner in various African countries. In 1961 he was knighted. His wife was Helen Graham Bell and they had four children (Roger, Patrick, Graham and Frankie). He died on 10th August 1982. A memorial service was held in St Margaret's on 20th October 1982.
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