Meet the new Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Sir Richard Kleinwort

Nil sine labore, nothing without work, is the Kleinwort family motto and the new Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Sir Richard Kleinwort, sets the perfect example as a philanthropist.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 4:45 pm

“I like to keep busy,” he said. “I am juggling lots of balls but I have been doing this for quite a while and I love it.”

He is an energetic, optimistic man and with a big birthday coming up - Sir Richard will be 60 on November 4 - he feels it is the perfect time for him to step into the role.

“Having been High Sheriff in 2008, I have seen what it is like, and I have been a Deputy Lieutenant for 15 years, so the role is well-known to me,” he explained.

Sir Richard Kleinwort, the new Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, cares deeply about conservation, wildlife and the environment

“It is the best birthday present I could have been given and the greatest honour. It is a dream come true.”

An investment banker working in the city, Sir Richard made Sussex his home with his wife Lucy back in 1991, two years after they were married. He became the custodian of the Heaselands Estate, which has been in his family for four generations, under the Kleinwort Baronetcy of Bolnore.

Nature, conservation and the environment have always been important to the family. Sir Richard’s grandfather, Ernest Kleinwort, played a vital role in the formation of the World Wide Fund for Nature, now WWF, and Sir Richard has been a member of the UK Board of Ambassadors since 2000.

His grandfather also set up the Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust on March 12, 1963, and Sir Richard is currently the senior trustee.

The Kleinwort family crest with the motto nil sine labore, nothing without work

He and his family work hard to support a variety of good causes in Sussex, paying personal visits to as many as possible when applications for funds are made.

“That is a fun thing and why I have got to know Sussex so well,” said Sir Richard.

“The central premise is to give to Sussex, as much as possible. We manage to disperse about £1.5million a year to good causes. Some are international, like WWF, right down to a choir that visits care homes at Christmas time.

“We like to make a difference. On purpose, we have lots of little charities on subscription, which can range from £1,000 upwards, and that can help all sorts of little projects all over Sussex. You need to be able to help out the bigger causes but a little sometimes goes so far.”

As Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Sir Richard is keen to do even more to help the community.

“It is not just about promoting the Crown and her influence, it is about looking after the people,” he said.

“Part of our remit is to be on the ground, to see where the problems are. We want to find out when things aren’t going well and see how we can help.”

One of the key roles of the Lieutenancy is to arrange and accompany royal visits and Sir Richard knows how important these can be for volunteers.

“The end result is to reward people and recognise them,” he explained. “It is an enormous thing for people. It might be the only close-up they have with the royal family in their lifetime.

“My first job in the role was the visit of The Princess Royal to Haywards Heath Mutual Aid and this group is the perfect example of what we can do together.

“I have seen how great this nation can be. People have been stuck at home and they have been quite clever with the groups they have formed, and that is a whole new way to give and to get people together. We need to find these people, the unsung heroes, and raise them up in spirit and recognition.”

Sir Richard has known Mrs Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, for some years and is proud to support her in the role.

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