Robert Clerk named Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian

Sir Robert adds lustre to Clerk family's service. Picture: Neil Hanna

Sir Robert adds lustre to Clerk family's service. Picture: Neil Hanna

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SIR Robert Clerk has been appointed Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian.

Robert Maxwell Clerk was born on April 3, 1945, the elder son of Sir John Dutton Clerk of Penicuik, the tenth baronet, and Evelyn Elizabeth Clerk (nee Robertson).

He was educated at Winchester College, Hampshire, and at Wye College – part of London University – where he graduated with a BSc in agriculture.

He worked as a partner in Smiths Gore, a large firm of rural chartered surveyors and property consultants, from 1980 until 2003 and now acts as a consultant with the firm. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Sir Robert succeeded his father in 2002. He is a farmer and lives on the Penicuik Estate, which has been in Clerk ownership since 1654.

In 1707, one of Sir Robert’s ancestors, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, was one of the leading Scottish proponents of the Union, a commissioner of the Scottish Parliament, as well as a judge, composer and architect.

He also produced one of the best accounts of the process leading to Union, his History of the Union of Scotland and England.

Sir Robert believes his predecessor’s achievements have been largely overlooked. “He was an enormously important and influential man, an absolute icon of his age and probably very under-recognised even today.”

Sir Robert became a Deputy Lieutenant for Midlothian in 1995, helping to represent the Queen in the county, and was appointed vice-lieutenant 18 months ago.

He now takes over as Lord Lieutenant for Midlothian, replacing Patrick Prenter, who has retired from the post.

Sir Robert follows in the footsteps of his father, who was Lord Lieutenant for 20 years. He says the appointment is a great honour.

He said: “There are lots of interesting things I am looking forward to becoming involved with.”

He is keen to work many of the voluntary organisations in Midlothian.

“And the uniformed youth organisations,” he added. “Army cadets, ATC, BB, Guides and Scouts – you name it, I want to be involved and try and help encourage them in anyway I can.”

Sir Robert is honorary president of a number of Penicuik organisations and is a member of the vestry at St James the Less Episcopal Church, Penicuik.

He has been chairman of the Atlantic Salmon Trust and has played a leading role in the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, serving as chairman from 1989 to 1995 and then vice-president from 1995 until 2011.

He was awarded an OBE in 1995 for services to the salmon industry.

In 1970, he married Felicity Faye Collins and the couple have two sons and a daughter and three grandchildren.