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