Kingston’s retiring Deputy Lieutenant is appointed High Steward

Cllr julie pickering and colonel godbold obe

Kingston’s Deputy Lieutenant, Colonel Geoffrey Godbold OBE TD DL, commanded his last Remembrance Sunday parade at the weekend, bringing to an end 16 years of ceremonial duty.

In addition to representing HM The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant and upholding the dignity of the Crown, he is the only Deputy Lieutenant in London to command the parade on Remembrance Sunday.

By statute Deputy Lieutenants retire at age 75 and in recognition of his eminent service to the borough, the Council has appointed Colonel Godbold as High Steward of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

The ‘ancient’ Office of High Steward was held by the late Mr David Jacobs CBE, an honour bestowed on him when he retired as Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Kingston.

The  Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is believed to be the only local authority which has the right to appoint its own High Steward without the approval of the Crown.

Formalising his appointment,The Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Julie Pickering, presented Colonel Godbold with a badge of honour and a framed illuminated scroll which details the resolution made at full Council in October.

Addressing Colonel Godbold, Councillor Pickering said:

“Over the last 16 years you have woven yourself into the fabric of our Royal Borough facilitating numerous royal visits, presented dozens of deserving organisations with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and developed YOU, an initiative that promotes 'youth organisations in uniform' such as the cadets, many of whom we have seen on parade today.

“Knowing all you have done for us over the years has meant we have wanted to acknowledge your dedication to the role and support for Kingston. I am delighted that you have accepted the honour of now becoming our next High Steward.”

Notes to editors

High Steward of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

The Royal Borough is believed to be the only local authority which has the right to appoint its own High Steward (and Honorary Recorder) without approval of the Crown.  This right was contained in the Charter of James II (1685) and most recently confirmed in the Charter of Incorporation of the present Royal Borough which states “the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough may appoint an eminent person to be High Steward of the Borough and a person learned in the laws of our realm to be Recorder of the Borough”.

The origins of the honorary office of High Steward can be traced back to the time when it was customary in Manorial boroughs for the Lord of the manor to hold a court at which his Steward presided.  By the middle of the seventeenth century, it had become more usual for Municipal Corporations to control all the courts held within the borough and, consequently, appoint their own Steward.  Over the years, the office has evolved into being purely an honorary one, usually held by an officer of dignity and influence.  

Former incumbents of the office of High Steward of the Royal Borough include:

  • W E St Lawrence Finny
  • His Grace George Granville Sutherland Leveson-Gower
  • The Rt Hon David Anthony Thomas Fane
  • The Rt Hon Lord Boyd Carpenter of Crux Easton
  • David Jacobs CBE DL

The office became vacant in 2013 after the death of the former incumbent, David Jacobs, who had also served in the role of the Representative Deputy Lieutenant.

About Colonel Geoffrey Godbold OBE TD DL

Colonel Godbold’s service to the borough dates back many years. He lives locally and has involvement in a range of voluntary organisation as well as having undertaken the ceremonial role of Representative Deputy Lieutenant since 2001. 

Geoffrey ran his own marketing consultancy for 20 years with clients such as the Motor Show and Yves Saint Laurent Perfumes; he then worked as a Management Consultant specialising in developing fundraising programmes for such organisations as Harefield Hospital and the Treloar Trust, and was CEO of GamCare which provides treatment for problem gamblers.

He served in the Honourable Artillery Company and commanded it in 1985/86. He is a keen horseman, President of the HAC Saddle Club, Director of the Hampton Court Horse Rangers, and Vice-President of Ham Polo Club. 

In his role of Deputy Lieutenant one of his first duties was to welcome the Queen in 2002 during her Golden Jubilee celebration. She visited just four boroughs and while in Kingston she unveiled the commemorative stone in All Saints churchyard.

Colonel Godbold is currently the Common Cryer and Serjeant-at-Arms to the Lord Mayor.