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Prince Edward Island

Former Lord Lieutenant thought CVO was invitation to retirement reception

Donald Martin was shocked when he opened his postage-paid envelope from Buckingham Palace to find he had received a CVO.

The former Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles had suggested it might include an invitation to a reception for pensioners after he resigned in March.

He was “deeply humbled” when he found out what it really was, but said his time serving the royal family was already honor enough.

“To have had the opportunity to serve the late Queen and the rest of the Royal Family on behalf of the Western Isles was in itself a real honor and I expected nothing less,” said Mr Martin.

“I feel deeply humbled and honored by the communities, organizations and the Lieutenant team I have worked with. I consider this award as much for them as it is for me.”

First native Gaelic-speaking Lord Lieutenant

Mr. Martin is well acquainted with the Western Isles Lieutenancy and has worked through the roles since 1997.

He said: “I am probably unique in that I have held all four roles within the Lieutenancy.

“I started as an employee for a total of 19 years, during which time I was promoted to deputy lieutenant, then to vice lieutenant in 2013 and to first lieutenant in 2016.”

Mr Martin was formerly Chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority. Image: Sandy McCook / DC Thomson

He believes he was also unique in that he was the first Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant to speak Gaelic.

Although he gave up the role when the Prince of Wales became King Charles, he said it was special to be named on His Majesty’s First Roll of Honor.

Big visit to the grandchildren

In his functions in the Lieutenancy, Stornoway resident Mr Martin has met most of the Royal Family over the years, some on numerous occasions.

One of his fondest memories was organizing the Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit to Stornoway in 2002, which he said was a “very memorable” day for the community.

He added: “Senior citizens meet them and they feel very proud and privileged, they are excited at the prospect of meeting them and once they meet them they are very surprised at how down to earth and natural they are.”

Mr. Martin is still involved in a number of community groups and enjoys promoting Gaelic to the masses.

He was previously interim managing director of Bord na Gaidhlig, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, chairman of the Gaelic bilingual publisher Acair Ltd and secretary to the British and Scottish Committees of the European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages.

Since he retired earlier this year, Mr Martin has been employed by his seven grandchildren – three of whom live on the island near him.

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[Former Lord Lieutenant thought CVO was invitation to retirement reception]


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