THERE are not many people around who can say they have personally met Pope Benedict, attended a Royal Wedding, and got the chance to feed pandas Sweetie and Sunshine at Edinburgh Zoo.
But these are just three of the experiences George and Elizabeth Grubb, Edinburgh’s Lord and Lady Provosts, have had the pleasure to be involved in over the last five years.
Next week, however, at midnight on May 2, George is retiring from politics and will step down as councillor for the Almond Ward and as the city’s civic head.
He became involved in local politics in 1999 after a life is the ministry. He was approached to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate and won the Queensferry ward from Labour’s Charles Booth. He was then re-elected in 2003 and again in 2007. And after the 2007 local elections he was invited to take on the role of Lord Provost, a post he has relished ever since.
This week both George (76) and wife Elizabeth (75) looked back on their role as Edinburgh’s ambassadors and agreed it has been very hectic time but are quick to point out that it is not work but an “awe-inspiring privilege” to have been given the responsibility.
With around 700 functions to attend each year and up to seven engagements per day, the couple say there has been little or no time to make any personal arrangements over the past five years prior to checking their busy diaries first.
And with the role has come the opportunity to travel the world, including Australia and Japan, but one of their lasting memories will be the visit to Buckingham Palace earlier this year when George addressed the Queen in Scots tongue to wish her a happy diamond jubilee.
Elizabeth said many people say their lives are set to change as they step out of the limelight but she adds: “Our lives changed when we accepted the roles.”
The couple now look forward to retirement in Queensferry, a place they treasure, and to spend more time with their family.
lFull list of election candidates on page 5.