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Romford MP Andrew Rosindell’s tribute to his beloved Buster

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 August 2017

Andrew Rosindell and Buster at the competition

Andrew Rosindell and Buster at the competition

Archant

After his beloved dog Buster passed away this, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell penned a special tribute for the Recorder.

Last Sunday, my faithful friend Buster passed away after thirteen years of loyal companionship.

He was almost fifteen years old, an amazing age for a Staffordshire bull terrier (105 in human years) and what a truly amazing dog he was.

He played a huge part in my life, having been at my side throughout most of my time as an MP, but judging by the enormous amount of condolence messages, calls and letters I have received, in addition to the hundreds of comments all over social media, he also touched the lives of so many other people too.

I sincerely thank everyone for their messages, which have stunned me by how genuinely sad so many people are at Buster’s loss.

After my first Staffie, Spike died in 2002, I felt it was unlikely that I would be able to have another dog now that I was in Parliament, but I was wrong. Two years later, I was approached by Sharon and Paul Clifford of Albany Road, Hornchurch, who came to me and said: “We’ve got the ideal dog for you.”

After one meeting with Buster over Harrow Lodge Park, it became immediately clear that they were spot on.

Buster was certainly the ideal MP’s dog!

He loved the limelight and was always ready to pose for a photo.

He had a wonderful character about him that made everyone laugh.

He always played with children in the most gentle way and was never happier than when on parade with me at a public occasions, proudly wearing his Union Jack or Cross of St. George waistcoat, which had been made specially for him.

Buster became a frequent feature in and around Romford Market, Collier Row and across Havering.

Whenever I would take him for walks, usually over Bedfords Park, Havering Country Park or Rise Park, people would always say “hello Buster”, always so full of life, he loved everyone he met.

It is astounding how our beloved pets can unite us under a mutual fondness for our four legged friends.

He helped me win Romford over four general elections, and not forgetting the part he played in the EU referendum he truly showed the Bulldog Spirit, accurately reflecting the mood of our great town.

Billed as “Romford’s Top Dog”, Buster became a real local celebrity and served our community so brilliantly by turning up for countless local events to support good causes and local organisations, but his fame didn’t stop there.

When Mrs Thatcher met him in Romford in 2005, they instantly became great friends and she would often ask after him.

He was admired by MPs on all sides of the House, most especially by the speaker John Bercow who spoke warmly about Buster.

He also became a regular fixture at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition and soon became a favourite for the London media crowd too, who always asked to film him in his famous Union Jack coat.

There was a worrying moment when Buster appeared to have been accosted by two passing police officers, until it emerged that the officers simply wanted to have their picture taken with the new celebrity of the canine world.

As a true reflection of his popularity, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, lifted the City Hall ban on dogs to accommodate Buster when the BBC wanted him to appear live on Sunday Politics.

If there ever was a shining example of “man’s best friend”, it was Buster.

He brightened my life and gave so much love and loyalty, as well as bringing joy to all those around him.

Thank you my wonderful companion - you will be missed deeply, and always remembered.

You really did live up to your name of “Romford’s Top Dog”.

R.I.P. Buster (2002-2017)

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