A Life of Service

Our Channel Islands boast rich and proud identities, but as Crown Dependencies, it is their indelible bond with the Monarch that unites them. In the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Lieutenant-Governor, Lieutenant General Richard Cripwell CB, CBE, is responsible for safeguarding this precious and enduring tie. He speaks passionately about serving Crown and community, the importance of kindness, and his pride in representing the islands.

Service is a recurring theme throughout our conversation, and with good reason. The role of the Lieutenant-Governor, an appointment approved by the Sovereign, is to perform various duties on the Sovereign’s behalf while also serving as a pivotal point of communication between the Bailiwick and United Kingdom. In addition to attending States meetings in Guernsey and Alderney and the Chief Pleas in Sark, he also hosts visits by Ambassadors and dignitaries while also supporting social and charitable initiatives at a local level. While the duties of the position are far-reaching, it is the representation of the islands to wider audiences that matters the most to the local community, and why the role of Lieutenant-Governor is so important to islanders.

Two years into his five-year tenure, His Excellency has won the hearts and minds of the community thanks to his deep respect for the Bailiwick and genuine appreciation of people. He also works alongside officials such as the Bailiff of Guernsey, the President of Alderney, and the Seigneur of Sark in what he describes as ‘in a wide range of ways,’ and His Excellency has a unique insight into the workings of island life.

“The Bailiwick is such a generous and kind society, with a strong sense of pride,” he explains. “Places are always interesting, but it is the people that make you stay and the strong sense of community here is very special. I am immensely honoured to have the opportunity to spend my time in the service of the people of the Bailiwick.”

While His Excellency clearly enjoys being an integral part of the community and celebrating achievements, he also appreciates the importance of spending time with islanders, understanding challenges, and listening to concerns. He explains, “I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place, but you can’t eat the view.” He continues, “People still have obstacles to overcome and worries about things as diverse as financial security, job opportunities, or education, for example, and I have a duty to listen to them.”

Government House, the Lieutenant-Governor’s official residency, has provided the backdrop for these efforts, a stage that His Excellency considers an invaluable platform for people and voices to be heard. He explains, “Government House is part of the fabric of the islands, and it is here for everyone in the Bailiwick. It’s wonderful to meet people from the length and breadth of the islands and hear their stories.”

His Excellency invariably contributes to these stories and experiences through his role, and he feels strongly about opening up opportunities for youngsters through the Lieutenant-Governor’s Cadets program. Every year, a group of young people from schools and youth organizations are selected to serve as Cadets, playing a role in supporting the Lieutenant-Governor at official and public engagements throughout the year.

“People still have obstacles to overcome and I have a duty to listen to them”

“The program opens up opportunities for youngsters,” His Excellency explains. “I learn a lot from them and they gain insights into things they usually wouldn’t experience, which we hope adds to their personal development.”

This leadership role is familiar territory for His Excellency, having forged an illustrious career as a senior military officer within the British armed forces over four decades. During this time, he served in various overseas locations, including the Middle East, The Balkans, America, Baghdad, Zimbabwe, and Cyprus before being appointed Deputy Commander of Operation ‘Resolute Support’ in Afghanistan and then Deputy Commander Allied Land Command for NATO land forces in Turkey. “Being of service has always been of huge importance to me, it isn’t something you just turn off,” he shares. “My career has afforded me wonderful opportunities to travel and experience new communities, but service has always been the backbone of my career. It’s part of who I am and I’m very proud that I still have the chance to serve.”