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‘He has carried out his role with the utmost dignity and dedication to duty.’
These were the words of Lieutenancy colleagues on the eve of Patrick Stewart’s retirement on Saturday (July 25) from the role of Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute.
Mr Stewart has served the Lieutenancy of Argyll and Bute for 33 years, since his first appointment as a Depute Lieutenant in 1987. He was made Vice Lieutenant in 2002 and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute by Her Majesty The Queen in 2011.
He has been involved in numerous Royal visits and special occasions in Argyll and Bute including The Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees in 2002 and 2012 respectively and her 90th birthday celebrations in 2016.
On behalf of Her Majesty, he has overseen numerous awards presentations to people and organisations across Argyll and Bute who have made outstanding contributions to community life, an area of Lieutenancy work in which Mr Stewart has been particularly active.
He has also played a part in other, perhaps more personal celebrations. A duty in which he has taken great pleasure is marking the special occasions of local people, such as 100th and 105th birthdays and diamond and platinum wedding anniversaries, making presentations on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.
A matter of considerable personal pleasure was his presentation of a 105th birthday card to his mother Ailsa Stewart who, like Mr Stewart, still lives in Campbeltown.
A key achievement of Mr Stewart’s tenure was the co-ordination of Argyll and Bute’s First World War centenary commemorations. This already significant task brought with it additional gravitas and importance when it became apparent the 2018 centenary commemorations in Islay would attract considerable international attention.
While each of the centenary events in Oban, Helensburgh and Dunoon were successfully realised, the 2018 commemoration provided the greatest test. This brought together HRH The Princess Royal with numerous international and national politicians, dignitaries, residents and overseas visitors – plus a fleet of international warships – for a series of events on Islay to mark the loss of the SS Tuscania and the HMS Otranto.
With Mr Stewart at the helm, employing his characteristic commitment and attention to detail, this put Argyll and Bute on the international stage as well providing a fitting and moving memorial for the lost, saved and the rescuers.
A particular personal highlight was Mr Stewart’s appointment as a Companion of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2020 Queen’s New Year Honours. While perhaps no surprise to others given his many years of service, Mr Stewart was humbled and delighted at the award, which is made at the personal behest of Her Majesty The Queen to mark dedicated service to the monarchy.
Despite such a positive start to his final year in the role, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant the last few months of Mr Stewart’s service as Lord Lieutenant have been different from that originally envisaged. However, his hard work, dedication, dignity and sense of duty mean the Lieutenancy of Argyll and Bute continues through the 21st century in a strong position and with excellent links to the Royal households it represents and the communities it serves.
Speaking ahead of his retirement, Mr Stewart said: ‘I remember when I was first appointed a member of the Royal Family advised me most of all to enjoy the position. I have certainly enjoyed the role. The experience is engrossing and fulfilling.
‘I have had tremendous support from the vice and depute lieutenants, my clerk, the council and other organisations and individuals throughout Argyll and Bute. They, along with my family, have been a great strength to me.
‘With the appointment of Mrs Jane MacLeod as my successor, supported by the Depute Lieutenants, I know the Lieutenancy is in safe hands. Along with my sincere thanks for their kindness over the years, I leave them with my very warmest wishes for the future.
‘I know they feel, as I do, it is an enormous privilege to be given the role of representing Her Majesty The Queen in the communities in which we live.’
Mrs MacLeod became Argyll and Bute’s first female Lord Lieutenant on Saturday.