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Visit from the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire

8th April 2010

Sir Henry Elwes, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire was this evening’s speaker.  The position of Lord Lieutenant was created by Queen Elizabeth in 1588 with the task of basically listing all capable people in the County who were suitable for military action. Previously this was carried out by the High Sheriff. Today with 20/30 deputies, they are the eyes and ears for the Queen for all that occurs in the County.
Not everything goes to plan --- during the siege of Gloucester, the Lord lieutenant was staying in Sudeley Castle when he was attacked and the holes from the cannons can still be seen.  As a Lord Lieutenant one needs to keep slim especially as the uniform is expensive and tight fitting, making it difficult to drive. Two incidents were recalled by Sir Henry, one where the sword he was wearing jammed him in the car and he struggled to get out and a similar incident with another Lord Lieutenant who also was jammed in his car, because of his sword but he did not make it and the Queen ended up introducing herself to the dignitaries.

There is still a lot of military duties required especially with the Reservists and ensuring the cooperation of their employers to release them, the Regular Units regarding parades, funerals and presentation of the Elizabeth Cross to close relatives of soldiers killed in action.  The Army Cadet movement and their instructors also demand his time especially now they receive no Government support.    Presentation of Queen’s Awards to Industry, Police, Fire and Ambulance and persons awarded  with OBE or MBE who wish the presentation to be held locally, all require his presence in uniform. Visits to Prisons, Garden Parties the list is endless.   Organise 30 Royal visits to the County each year, be present at JP swearing-in and Citizenship Awards ceremonies. Sir Henry is the Queen’s Representative in the County or rather two counties because South Gloucestershire  is included for Ceremonial duties. 

However, Sir Henry does have other interests --- Motor cycles and Cars.  He started with Motor Cycles  and when his teacher in 1952 took delivery of a Jaguar XK 120 decided that was for him. When aged 19 he bought a XK120 in part exchange with a Austin 10 for £297 and Comprehensive insurance at £25. Times have changed. With a Austin Healey Frog-eyed Sprite, Sir Henry has raced against the likes of Graham Hill and Stirling Moss although they were in much more powerful cars which made it look as though he was going backwards when being overtaken. Never the less Sir Henry is very proud to have won his First and Last races with many others and places gained in between.  Still owns a Jag and has been 50 years in the Jaguar Drivers Club.

Sir Henry’s Presentation was very informative with many anecdotes, experiences and jokes. An evening  enjoyed by all Members.    Thank you Sir Henry. A donation was made to Sir Henry’s favourite charity, the local Army Cadet Force


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