17 January 2013

Guest Speaker

In 2008, when I was still Chairman of West Midlands Federation of Women’s Institutes, I was pleased to welcome the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands as guest speaker at our Annual Council Meeting and this week I was there to welcome him again at my local WI. It was lovely to find that he remembered me from that first time, and even remembered the event and the location. He revealed that he had only spoken to the WI twice, and I am thrilled that I was present on both occasions.

Paul Sabapathy is a natural speaker and he kept the women enthralled with details of his job and experiences. He joked with them afterwards, declining to sit in ceremony drinking tea, preferring – as he put it - to mingle with the girls.

As Lord Lieutenant he is the most senior ranking personage in our area, next to the Queen, and the first non-white man to take on the role. He represents the Queen at all times and greets influential people when Her Majesty cannot be present.

You can see by his smile that he is a jolly person and is very easy to talk to.  Some are not; some give the impression that they are greater than most, but Paul Sabapathy is just the opposite. He is what I call a ‘natural’.

We were shown photographs of him greeting the Pope when he visited our city, along with other ‘special’ people, and it was interesting to hear his account of THE WEDDING. Yes, he was one of the invited guests at Prince William and Catherine’s wedding last year and he brought the invitation and a piece of wedding cake to show us. You can imagine how pleased the women were seeing that. The cake was inside a box, not the usual flimsy type used by us commoners but a beautifully decorated tin box. Inside the tin was what looked like a pad of blue velvet with a central well where the cake nestled. I cannot imagine the cake will ever be eaten but will be admired by many for a while yet.

The lady who books the speakers for my WI has done the job for a couple of years and is determined to keep on providing interesting people to educate or amuse us. People who did the job before somewhat let the side down by bringing in some boring or uninteresting characters. If you’re looking in Pam, please know that you are highly appreciated for your efforts on our behalf. We love what you’re doing for us.

To read more about the Lord Lieutenant please go here


  1. Of course he would remember
    'our Val'... unforgettable you.

  2. He looks a fine, cheerful chap. I wonder how you become Lord Lieutenant? I wouldn't mind the job myself as long as it could be narrowed down to a more manageable geographic area : Lord Lieutenant of Huddersfield perhaps.

  3. smiles...pretty cool that you met him...and he sounds like quite the interesting guy...

  4. Unforgettable. And what a happy lookin' fella. It's good that he's 'good people' under all those title pressures. (pretty sure I wouldn't want his job)
    I'm chuckling about the fancy boxed cake--what keeps it from going green oughta scare people. LOL

  5. Hi Alan. I think you need a lot of qualifications to become a Lord Lieutenant, both business and educational.

    Mel, at one time the top tier of a wedding cake was always kept in a tin to be used at the first christening, however many years it took. They never went green..., probably due to the

    Aww Faye, you say the nicest

    Brian, he is an interesting guy and so easy to get on with.

  6. WOW...what a fascinating post!

    Valerie, I can just tell from his face in the photo that he's a REALLY down-to-earth and just all around nice guy! I also clicked over on the link you shared and read the article about him.

    LOVED the part about the wedding cake!!!!

    " It was lovely to find that he remembered me from that first time."

    Of course he did! In the words of Nat King Cole's song, "Unforgettable".....that's what you are!

    Thanks for sharing, dear lady. Great read!


  7. Hey Ron, you made me smile. Unforgettable? As in.... no, I won't go down that route, I might get All the WI women were thrilled to see THE wedding cake.

  8. Some people are just great communicators. Those who are not should stay out of the business. He looks like a very cordial guy.

  9. You're lucky to have had a speaker like Paul Sabapathy visit your college. That's a speaker I would have loved to see! The only speaker I saw while in college was Jello Biarfa, the lead singer of The Dead Kennedys. Sure, it was a blast to hear the man speak, but I'm sure Paul Sabapathy would have had more insightful tales to tell...

  10. I'm not surprised that he remembered you! What fun for you "girls"!!! So neat that you got to meet him.

  11. I've never heard of Jello Biarfa, Herman, nor The Dead Kennedys.

  12. Really interesting post Valerie and he sounds like a great person. :)

  13. He was, Pearl. Everyone enjoyed listening to him.,

  14. saw a snow post...but....we got snow last night will be out playing...woot!

  15. Hi Val - I'm trying to click on your new post entitled "Snow", but it doesn't show up, so I'll let you know that by this little note. Not sure why it isn't there. This is the post that comes up.

  16. Sorry, folks, if you saw a post from me entitled SNOW. The article was posted in error. I clicked the wrong button after preparing it for TOMORROW. I quickly removed it but of course it probably still shows on Google Reader. Oooh I do like confusing people.... NOT!

  17. He does look a happy and approachable type.
    Sorry I haven't been commenting much Valerie, but I'm still here.
    Hoping my main PC is back tomorrow.

  18. How could he forget a wonderful gal like Val? Glad you got a chance to re-connect and it was a wonderful event. Take care of yourself and have a nice weekend.


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