From army major to Lord Lieutenant

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MICHAEL Ingouville Williams MBE, a former army major and a leading figure in conservation amongst farmers in Scotland, has been officially appointed as Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian.

Mr Williams, 67, grew up in Winchester, Hampshire, and had a very happy childhood with lots of relatives around. He was the middle child, with two sisters.

He attended Bradfield College in Berkshire, before going on to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst College. He then was commissioned to the Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army in 1966.

He served in the regiment for more than 20 years, rising through the ranks to eventually become a major. He served most of his time in Germany on a base on the Rhine, but was also stationed in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

During this time his family travelled with him – and continued to grow. He met his wife, Barbara, when he was a teenager in Winchester, and the childhood sweethearts got married when he was 25 and she was 23.

The couple have three children, Nicola, Christopher and David, and five grandchildren which he says he loves, as you can hand them back.

He retired from the army in 1985 when the family was given the opportunity to take over his wife’s family farm, Eaglescairnie Farm near Gifford.

And after a year at agricultural college in Hampshire he attained a certificate of farm management to prepare himself for the challenge of becoming a farmer.

He gradually became more interested in conservation within agriculture after seeing the damage that farming could have on the environment.

He become a very keen adopter of conservation measures and a “sympathetic” farming system. He even regularly opens up his own 350 acres of land as a demonstration of good ecological practice in farming.

He has been involved in a number of conservation organisations and in 2001 he was awarded the MBE for services to biodiversity, conservation and agriculture in East Lothian.

Mr Williams was appointed as a deputy lieutenant in 1997 before becoming vice Lord Lieutenant in 2010. Following the death of his predecessor, Sir Garth Morrison in May 2013, Mr Williams became the interim Lord Lieutenant for the county. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants are the representatives of the Crown for each county in the United Kingdom.

As a strong member of the local community, Michael said he was “delighted” by the honour to represent the area.

He said: “I am hugely honoured to take on the role of representing Her Majesty The Queen as Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian.

“The county is a place which I am delighted to help promote and I look forward to meeting more local residents as part of my duties.”