IT’S a little surprising that the Queen’s representative for Cheshire is, in fact, a Yorkshireman.

But his adopted home county is a continuing source of pride to Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs. Especially when it comes to charitable and scientific endeavours.

“Cheshire is a county of enormous contrasts,” says the 71-year-old, who hails from Huddersfield but has lived in Mobberley’s Grade II listed Dukenfield Hall since 1987.

“It has faced many challenges in the past, and to some extent still does. But its strength lies in its people and the endeavours of its communities.”

Appointed in 2010 as Her Majesty’s representative in Cheshire, the Lord-Lieutenant’s foremost duty is to uphold the dignity of the Crown.

His responsibilities include arranging royal visits to the county and the first six months of this year will see eight such occasions taking place – three of which are already known about, five which remain a closely guarded secret.

He also presents honours and awards on behalf of Her Majesty, such as The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Yet, the ceremonial aspect of the role accounts for only a quarter of his duties.

“The other three-quarters is charity work,” he says.

“When I was appointed to this job in 2010 I received a guide book, much of which was about how to wear the uniform. But it also explained that one of the roles was to act as a bridge between different sections of society.

“I thought long and hard about that and realised that the two worlds I knew something about were medium sized businesses and charities.

“Very early on I discovered Cheshire was the only county that didn’t have a Community Foundation.”

A Community Foundation helps local people and companies make sure that their charitable investments go to the places where they will make the biggest impact. And so, the Lord-Lieutenant made it his business to set one up for Cheshire and his Vice Lord-Lieutenant Joelle Warren became the chairman.

“It has been a great success,” he says. “So far, we’ve given more than £3million to charitable causes across the county.”

The span of the charities it supports is extraordinary, from Scout and Guide units, to community groups and the elderly. In 2018 its key priority will be tackling mental health and its recently launched Young Minds Matter fund aims to distribute £500,000 by 2020.

“The other thing that I realised was that charities need business skills. So, I decided to try to build some virtual bridges between those two worlds and set up a charity called Cheshire Connect.

“We’ve now helped several hundred charities in the county, not with money but with getting business and professional people to give their time and skills to help charities become more effective in achieving their goals.”

His altruism doesn’t end there. He is currently the chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Poverty Truth Commission, which involves people who have experienced poverty in helping to influence policy in areas which include the benefits system and mental health.

“I’ve been fortunate to run a successful business for many years and think it’s fantastic to be able to use this extraordinary position that I have to give something back,” he says.

“And I don’t deny there is some pleasure in it. As I tell all the many volunteers that I spend a lot of time working with, they are absolutely entitled to get some pleasure out of what they do. And it does make you feel better when you put your head on your pillow at night if you think you’ve done something to help your fellow man.”

However, the enterprising spirit of Cheshire also inspires him.

“Cheshire today is a science county and I spend quite a lot of my time standing on platforms explaining that fact to a huge spectrum of people.

“When it comes to science and technology, I like talking about Cheshire in superlatives because we have a plethora of successful industries that we should be proud about.

“With Jodrell Bank’s Square Kilometre Array project we will have the biggest science project on earth – it will process more data every day than is currently used by the internet worldwide.

“One of the biggest problems for Cheshire going forwards will be not having enough young people with the necessary science and engineering qualifications to take up the thousands of jobs that are going to be available in this field.

“Cheshire is really exciting. We are the fastest growing economy outside of London and two of the home counties. We are the second biggest growth region outside of London. There is much to celebrate, and I hope that I am an ambassador for all that is good in the county.”