Honoured for a Life of Service

Retired lawyer Richard ‘Jerry’ Golland has helped hundreds of young people and handled millions of pounds in his long years of charity work.

Jerry (OE 1956–1963) was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Business and Charity in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours.

A solicitor who lives in Welwyn Hatfield, Jerry spent more than a decade with The Prince's Trust and continues to work with The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, a charity formed with the £5.2m assets of an antique dealer which helps vulnerable children and families affected by illness in the UK and supports development projects in Africa.

He spent more than 40 years as a lawyer with a number of firms, having benefited from a QE connection for the vital first step in that successful career. He was also the Hertfordshire Chairman – and, later, East of England Regional Chairman – for the Institute of Directors.

On the announcement of the Birthday Honours, Jerry told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: "I am surprised, but tickled pink. It is nice to know that people notice, especially as it is local people who have nominated me."

Jerry set out his story in his own words, as follows.

"I was born in Welwyn Garden City on 22nd April 1945. My father, Richard John Golland was an old boy at QE before the war [OE 1928–1935]. He was a civil engineer. Dad was working in Tanganyika in 1949 building the deep-water port at Mtwara for the infamous Ground Nut Scheme [a failed attempt by the British government to cultivate peanuts on areas of land in this country, which is now Tanzania]. My mother took me and my sister Mary (who went to the Girls' School) in 1949 by seaplane to Tanganyika. We stayed there until 1953, when it was decided we should come home as my Swahili was better than my English, and I could not read or write, but could dismantle and clean a Lea Enfield 303 rifle and skin a leopard! I was sent to Franklin House, a prep school in Palmers Green where they beat the Swahili out of me and somehow got me through the eleven plus. EHJ [Ernest Harold Jenkins, Headmaster 1930–1961] interviewed me and I only got in to QE as Dad was an OE.

"I was known as Jerry at school – and often as Golly. My name can doubtless still be found on some silverware at QE: I seem to remember the 220 yards, 440 yards and the long jump cup. I struggled academically as the prep school had not taught me how to learn and no-one realised this when I was at QE. In the end, I ended up with one A-level and quite a few O-levels.

"Fred Jefferies was then a governor and a solicitor practicing in North Finchley. He wanted a couple of articled clerks, so Nigel Emery from my year and I embarked on becoming solicitors through five years of articles. Nigel managed to pass all of his exams, but I took until 1971 to get through mine. Fred made me a partner and I stayed with Merton Jones Lewsey & Jefferies until 1989, when I was enticed away to Join Taylor Walker in St Albans. In 1995 I was headhunted into Matthew Arnold & Baldwin, where I remained until I retired in 2011. Fred was a very good commercial solicitor, and took me under his wing. I found I had a talent for merger & acquisition work, with a particular interest in corporate governance. That interest eventually lead me into advising charities, which in those days were very badly run and needed a good dose of commercial common sense.

"In 1994, Alan 'Happy' Morris, an accountant and an OE, asked me to help him with a client called Sylvia Adams. She had fallen over and broken her hip. She had a fantastic collection of antiques, having been a dealer whose best client was Queen Mary! She wanted to set up a charity, and in 1995 Alan and I formed The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust with £5.2 million pounds generated from the sale of the collection. At that time the Trust supported disabled people, young people, and those in poverty, both within the UK and abroad in third-world countries. Alan was chairman of trustees and I was the other trustee. Alan resigned as trustee in 2000 as he was unwell; I became chairman and we took in two other trustees, one of whom was a certain Eamonn Harris [Headmaster 1984–1999]. SACT continues to this day, although our work is now a little different.” [The charity currently focuses on helping organisations involved in: early years’ work with some of the country’s most disadvantaged children; supporting and informing families and communities affected by genetic conditions, and development work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.]

"Going back to 1995, I was approached by the manager of the Prince's Youth Business Trust to join their board in Hertfordshire to assess businesses that had applied for support and to make loans to them. I volunteered in this way until 2000 when the then-chairman stood down. I was asked to apply for the role, was appointed, and then told a week later that The Prince of Wales had decided to combine the three trusts he had set up over the years. The work of one of the Trusts was contracted out to the YMCA in Watford by head office, and the other two had their own boards and volunteers. It took a bit of doing, but by the end of 2000, we had one Hertfordshire Board and all went well. As Hertfordshire Chairman, I also sat on the Regional Committee. By 2006 we had undergone another set of changes, including merging with the Bedfordshire Board, and when yet more change was proposed which would mean the end of using volunteers except for fundraising, I decided enough was enough! In my time as chairman we helped over 1,300 young people in Hertfordshire, something I will always be proud of.

"I had been a member of the Institute of Directors since 1990. I used the Hertfordshire Branch as a good networking opportunity. In 2001, I was asked to join the Hertfordshire Committee, and in 2002, when the then-chairman left the role suddenly, I found myself being put forward as Hertfordshire Chairman. I accepted and after four years was appointed Regional Chairman for the East of England. That role was for three years, and I stepped down in 2009.

"My role at The Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust continues, but I am no longer involved in the other roles. I am a member of Brookmans Park Golf Club [In 2017, he was Captain of the Muntjacs, the club’s senior section]. Richard Newton and I started in 1C in September 1956, and when Brooksmans Park played Porters Park Golf Club in 2017, Richard was their Captain. These OEs get everywhere! I was a member of the OE rugby club, the athletics team and the cricket club. My other passion is our narrow boat, Albert Henry, that we keep on the Grand Union Canal near Ivinghoe. Life at four miles an hour is a great stress-reliever.

"Trina and I were married in 1970 and are still together. Mum and Dad died in 2006 and 2003 respectively. We have two daughters. Sarah is married and lives in Cambridge. She and Ed have two daughters, Emily, who is eight, and Martha, five. Laura is not married, but has a partner, Al, and they have been together for 11 years. They have two daughters, Niamh, four, and Grace, one. They live in Wellington, New Zealand, which means a long trip every year, and lots of Skyping!”