Below is the text of Mr Major’s presentation made to Chris Moncrieff on the plane from Hong Kong to London on 6th September 1991.
I have something very pleasant to do:
One of our veteran travellers with us has a birthday in a day or so. Those of you who braved the trip to the Great Wall will have noticed two sights of great magnificence: the first was the Great Wall and the second was the speed with which Chris Moncrieff was running down it at one stage with no absolute certainty that he would ever stop! I wondered whether he was going to do a sponsored run of the Great Wall for the Press Association and I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not that was the case.
It is Chris’s 60th birthday in just a day or so and I have here a small present for him with the very best wishes of No. 10 and the Press Office and it is – I might perhaps show it to you – a large engraved No. 10 jug in order that Chris can add water to any drink he deems necessary after dealing with all the political matters that he touches on with such skill.
I would like, Chris, to offer you our congratulations on your birthday and present you with this small memento from No. 10. [Applause]
Thank you very much indeed! I am most grateful, touched and surprised, I would like to say that when I was hurtling down the Gt. Wall of China, I was rescued by the Prime Minister from a fate worse than death for which I am eternally grateful; I was thereafter followed very closely by a Chinese detective who held my arm in a vice-like grip throughout the rest of the visit to the Wall. I wondered first whether I was about to be arrested or whether he thought I was too doddery to complete the walk on my own – I rather hoped it was the former!
Thank you very much indeed, one and all; I am very pleased! [Applause]