Tuesday, 22 June 2021

The running Lord

A FINANCIER from Hurley who likes running has been made a peer. Howard Leigh, 54, has adopted the title of

A FINANCIER from Hurley who likes running has been made a peer. Howard Leigh, 54, has adopted the title of Lord Leigh of Hurley and is the first peer to represent the village in 350 years. He was introduced to the House of Lords at a ceremony on Thursday last week.

Lord Leigh, who is the senior treasurer of the Conservative Party, said: “It’s a great honour and one of the proudest moments of my life, after my wedding to my wife Jennifer.

“I’m going to take into my coat of arms some of the symbols that the last Lord of Hurley had, which are currently in St Mary’s Church in the village.”

He wore robes at the ceremony, where he was introduced by Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman and former treasurer Lord Fink in front of about 300 guests, including Lord Marks of Henley. Lord Leigh swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.

The new peer, who has two daughters, Olivia, 14, and 12-year-old Susannah, has been canvassing support for the Conservatives at elections since 1979. He was appointed senior treasurer in 2000.

He is a senior partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance and splits his time between London and Hurley, where he moved six years ago. In his spare time he likes to run and he took part in the Henley Standard 10km earlier this month, finishing in 57 minutes. In March, he ran the Water of Life marathon course in -8C after the event itself was cancelled due to bad weather.

Lord Leigh, who had raised more than £40,000 for WaterAid, said: “The organisers suggested I ran the course anyway alongside the professional runners.

“It was very, very muddy and where the Thames had burst its banks we were regularly running through four inches of icy water. One road was completely submerged. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done physically. I completed it in two hours and 10 minutes, which was okay in the circumstances.”

He received the president’s award and a certificate signed by Prince Charles.

Lord Leigh, whose grandmother Manja Leigh co-founded the Henley Festival in 1982, said he was proud to represent his home village. “You can choose anywhere that’s special to you or with which you have a special relationship so I chose Hurley,” he said.

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