Meet the rock fan who is the Queen’s new man in West Yorkshire

The new Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson. Picture by Simon Hulme
The new Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson. Picture by Simon Hulme
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He takes over this weekend one of the oldest and most staunchly traditional offices of the land, and the headlines on Ed Anderson’s CV appear to qualify him perfectly as the Queen’s representative in West Yorkshire.

The chairman of the Airport Operators Association and Pro Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, he is also a board member of Opera North and a trustee of the Leeds Piano Competition.

But his musical tastes, he freely admits, are somewhat more eclectic – and when in 1970, The Who recorded its signature “in performance” album, Live at Leeds, at the city’s university, the audience included the future Lord Lieutenant.

It was not an aberration that could be put down to student excess – he was studying economics at the time, at what is now Leeds Beckett – for when the band returned to the same refectory location 12 years ago, he was there again, this time with his 16-year-old daughter in tow.

“I love classical music and the opera but I’m equally at home at a Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan concert,” said Mr Anderson, who assumes the Lord Lieutenancy tomorrow, upon the retirement after 14 years of Dame Ingrid Roscoe, and who was indeed in the house when Springsteen performed at the opening of the Leeds Arena, five years ago.

“I think the second one was Elton John – I was there as well – and the last band I saw there was actually The Killers,” he said, referring to an American rock band.

His fondness for popular culture may stand him in good stead with the new generation of Royals, whose visits to the county it will fall to him to arrange and whom he will accompany.

He got a taste for it in his previous roles as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire and as one of its 65 deputy lieutenants.

“High Sheriff is really a ceremonial position,” he said. “The Queen actually pricks your name on a piece of parchment so it can’t be erased afterwards, because in the old days it was regarded as quite as a liability. You had to provide lavish entertainment for all the judges.”

He has yet to meet the Queen, though as Sheriff, he met the Dukes of Edinburgh and York, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal. It also fell to him to shake their hands when they arrived at Leeds Bradford Airport, which he ran before it was sold in 2007. During his tenure, the arrival of the budget airline Jet2 turned it into a significant international terminal.

But it was his chairmanship of the Yorkshire Building Society, an engagement that began almost immediately before the financial markets crashed, which he considers his proudest achievement.

“It was a challenging time, but we were the third largest society going in and the second largest coming out, and we took over three other societies, including the Barnsley, during that time,” he said.

Mr Anderson said his retiring predecessor, Dame Ingrid Roscoe had done “an amazing job”.

“She really did bring joy to everyone she came across, which is what the monarchy also does,” he said of Dame Ingrid, who, as a female Lord Lieu­t­en­ant, wore a badge of office instead of a uniform.

Mr Anderson said he hoped to further increase the profile of the lieutenancy, and praised the voluntary organisations with which it works as “the glue that keeps our societies together”.