Tributes paid as Lochiel steps down after nearly two decades as Lord-Lieutenant

Lord Lieutenant Donald Cameron presents the Queen’s Award for Voluntsry Service to Nevis Radio chairman John Weller, who accepted it on behalf of volunteers past and present at the station’s AGM in Caol Community Centre. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F31 LOCHIEL Nevis Radio award
Lord Lieutenant Donald Cameron presents the Queen’s Award for Voluntsry Service to Nevis Radio chairman John Weller, who accepted it on behalf of volunteers past and present at the station’s AGM in Caol Community Centre. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F31 LOCHIEL Nevis Radio award

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Tributes are being paid this week to Donald Cameron of Lochiel CVO as he prepares to step down as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Inverness after nearly two decades in the high profile role.

Lord-lieutenants must retire when they reach the age of 75 and Lochiel – as Mr Cameron is widely known – will reach that milestone on Monday, just a year short of 20 years’ service.

The 27th hereditary chief of the Clan Cameron, who lives at Achnacarry, attended his final official engagement as Lord-Lieutenant on Monday when he presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the West Highland Museum in Fort William.

The Queen has appointed Inverness lawyer James Wotherspoon to succeed Lochiel. Mr Wotherspoon is currently senior Partner of Macandrew & Jenkins WS, a family legal firm based in Inverness.

He has been Clerk to the Inverness Lieutenancy, which encompasses the districts of Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey and Lochaber, since 2002 and a deputy lieutenant since 2009.

Paying tribute this week, Caol and Mallaig ward councillor Allan Henderson said Lochiel would be ‘greatly missed’ in the role of Lord-Lieutenant.

‘He is a figurehead who graces any event he attends and has a wonderful personal touch with a great interest and empathy of his fellow human beings,’ added Mr Henderson.

‘It was my privilege to be in Lochiel’s company on numerous occasions when I held the provostship of Lochaber and, while he was a great listener, I always came away enriched with some pearl of wisdom or history.

‘His rank did not mean it was difficult to have discourse with him, in fact the opposite was the case. He just has that wonderful personal touch which can be rare in public figures.’

MSP Kate Forbes commented: ‘I warmly and sincerely commend Donald Cameron of Lochiel for his many years of service to the Highlands and to Her Majesty The Queen.

‘He has been a much-loved and respected figure across the West Highlands, in particular, and beyond for many years. I’d like to pay tribute to his support to many initiatives and communities over the years.’

Convener of The Highland Council Councillor Bill Lobban told the Lochaber Times: ‘On behalf of The Highland Council, fellow councillors and staff, it is a great honour and a privilege to wish The Lord-Lieutenant, Donald Cameron of Lochiel, a long and happy retirement on his last official engagement.

‘I wish to thank him for his extensive and dedicated commitments to public service. His official presence will be sorely missed at the many events over which he presided such as the annual Remembrance Parade in Fort William and at the many community events which he was always pleased to support. We extend our best wishes to him on his retirement.’

Mr Wotherspoon  said it had been a great pleasure being one of Lochiel’s deputy lord-lieutenants as well as clerk to the lieutenancy during Lochiel’s time in the role.

‘Throughout his period as Lord-Lieutenant, I have really admired everything he has done. He has been extremely popular and much respected and that is due to his personality and the effort he has put in, involving himself in every sphere of community life. I am just full of admiration for him,’ said Mr Wotherspoon this week.

As for Lochiel himself, he told the Lochaber Times this week that his 19 years as Lord-Lieutenant had been very enjoyable. ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed it and been able to meet a huge number of people. It’s been a great pleasure doing things like presenting awards to local organisations and groups.

‘But you do have to step down when you reach 75 and for me that’s next week so Monday’s presentation to the museum was my last official event.’

Despite retiring from the role, Lochiel’s responsibilities as chief of Clan Cameron and at Achnacarry Estate mean he will still be kept busy.

‘Very much so. But it has been very enjoyable serving as Lord-Lieutenant. It’s been good fun.’