A Burgess Hill man was appointed a deputy lieutenant for West Sussex last week.
John Williams, who is currently clerk to the lieutenancy of West Sussex, was one of three people to be appointed to the ceremonial office in recognition for distinguished service to the community by lord lieutenant Susan Pyper.
He is a former head of emergency planning for West Sussex County Council, having held the post since 1989, and was appointed assistant clerk of the lieutenancy in 2004 before being made clerk in 2014.
John said: “This was a most unexpected surprise to be honoured in this way for doing a job that I love. I look forward to continuing with this work, but wearing an additional hat.”
During his time at the county council he helped coordinate responses to floods in Chichester in 1994, the tornado in Selsey in 1998, the reception of Montserrat evacuees in 1998, and millennium preparations in 1999, as well as other emergencies.
Nationally John was involved with the Emergency Planning Society following its formation in 1993, serving as chairman from 1995-1997, and was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2002.
Then in 2004 he formally relinquished his emergency planning role to concentrate on the lieutenancy as assistant clerk.
Since then he has run the office singlehandedly, organising more than 95 royal visits to the county, including four by the Queen, as well as numerous Queen’s Awards and other investitures.
Away from work, he has been chairman of Sammy Community Transport, a trustee of the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home in Worthing, and is a volunteer with SSAFA.
He and his wife Barbara live in Burgess Hill and share between them four adult children.
Barbara is currently director of support and local networks for Parkinson’s UK.
There are currently almost 40 deputy lieutenants spread across West Sussex.
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