Last month I sat down with County Club member Michael More-Molyneux. Whose family own the Loseley estate, to talk about his role as Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Surrey.
Having lived in the county his whole life, Michael is inextricably entwined with Surrey life. The More-Molyneux family have been at Loseley Park for five centuries, Michael has run the Loseley Park Estate for the past 25 years and is in the process of handing over to his son Alexander and his wife Sophia.
The responsibilities of a Lord Lieutenant include, Royal visits, the Military, Magistracy, supporting Charites and good causes, involvement with the Honours system and in addition, presentation of British Empire Medals on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, The Queens Award for Voluntary Service and The Queens Award for Enterprise.
We have approximately 35 Royal visits a year and in the last 18 months, practically every member of the Royal Family has visited the county and several of Their Royal Highness's, on more than one occasion. These visits have been to charities, a school for children with learning difficulties and various companies; it leaves everyone concerned with the organisations with a huge morale boost.
Not from a military background, Michael's biggest learning curve as Lord-Lieutenant has perhaps been his work with the local Cadets and Reservists; he has found the cadets really uplifting, seeing the youth of Surrey so enthusiastic and so focussed on making friends and learning new skills as a result.
Part of his work as Lord-Lieutenant includes the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, a role you can see he takes delight in, If it was not for the voluntary sector in Surrey, so many organisations and charities would not have the finances to exist. All these volunteers fly below the radar, they make this contribution because they are committed, feel that they can make a difference and finally, all of them, without fail, say they enjoy it.
It's hard to meet someone who so passionately sees the good in the people of Surrey more. He believes that in UK we aren't very good at saying thank you and well done, and the Queens Award is a fantastic way of showing people that they are appreciated.
Michael himself is involved with 30 or 40 good causes and charities and tries to support and boost them whenever possible. When pressed he finds it hard to single one out, there's a huge cross section, from The National Playing Field Association to children's hospices, more recently he has been asked to be appeal patron of Riding for the Disabled, a charity that The County Club has particular links with.
With all this commitment it seems impossible that Michael would have any time for anything else, but having run Loseley for 25 years he divulges that he will soon be handing on day to day management of Loseley to his son Alexander and his wife Sophia.
Perhaps this will allow Michael and his wife Sarah to continue their mission of exploring [this] fantastic country, he laughs Sarah and I are on a mission to visit all of the cathedrals in England, we are currently on about 16 of 44. Their mission so far has allowed them to witness the good work Lottery funding has done throughout the country he mentions the development of Bristol Docks as a prime example, saying their personal quest has opened their eyes to many different cities.
Aside from this, he still remains loyal to Guildford and says sitting in the bay window at The County Club and looking down the High Street is one of the highlights of Surrey life.
On joining The County Club, Michael says, "I had been to so many events and meetings at The County Club and Kevin had been incredibly helpful and accommodating - I thought I really must get membership for this club. I felt that I'd lived in Guildford for over 60 years, and it was very much a club that so many of my colleagues and friends were members of. It was and still is a very useful spot to say can we meet and chat." He singles out the Breakfast Meetings as a particular highlight where you can meet many interesting local business-minded individuals and, he adds, try the fantastic scrambled eggs courtesy of head chef Ivan.
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