Lord Peel is the first in a new series of blogs introducing you to the trustees, chairs and patrons of wildlife and environmental charities etc. The idea is to let you know who is running or has a senior, perhaps albeit largely honorary, position in your favourite, or least favourite, charity.
I have a few trustees etc in mind to feature here but I’ll need your help to keep this going because I don’t have the staying power to look at every list of trustees for every environmental charity (and they change every year too!) and then look up who they are and what are their interesting backgrounds. So please let me know, by email to email@example.com, of anyone you think should feature here (and why!).
Lord Peel is a patron of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – funnily enough the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has not yet supported Findlay Wilde’s thunderclap in support of the Hen Harrier. Lord Peel was also a former President of the GWCT and is still a grouse moor owner at Grinton in the Yorkshire Dales.
Some years ago Peel sold the prized grouse moor of Gunnerside to US tycoon Robert Miller (see Inglorious pp63-4 for a little more information) which was probably rather a wrench, but needs must as they say.
In his day job, Lord Peel is Lord Chamberlain which is a bit like being the Queen’s chief operating officer. Lord Peel has to visit the House of Lords now and again as a messenger between the monarch and the Lords – he is an elected crossbench member of the Lords. Due, I guess to his current job he rarely votes in the Lords and his voting record doesn’t tell us much about him really – except he is (or at least was), unsurprisingly (but we mustn’t prejudge) against a ban on fox hunting. When you look at voting records some strange phrases come up – I couldn’t help but smile when I saw ‘Earl Peel voted yes on Sodomy: Scotland’ but I didn’t look further into exactly what that meant.
As Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, a former member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (hotspot of raptor persecution) and obviously a member of the great and the good, Lord Peel was obvious trustee material for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust where he was President for many years.
I’ve met Lord Peel, Willie Peel, several times but not for many years. I like him, though I don’t think I agree with him very much about how the world should be and who ought to be running it. One senior conservation figure once said to me that Lord Peel had lovely hands – or did I mis-hear? – perhaps that was lovely lands. I wonder how John Lawton and Willie Peel get on – probably very well provided that they steer away from some subject.