Melvyn Gwynne Jeremiah

Born Newport, Monmouthshire, South Wales, 10 March 1939 (Pisces)


I grew up and went to school in a coal-mining town in South Wales. My mother's family came from rural Radnorshire in Mid-Wales, and my father's family was a branch of one from Swansea in South Wales. His great-grandfather (a mineral surveyor) moved East to Monmouthshire in the early nineteenth century and I, my father, and his father were all born in Monmouthshire. I did not enjoy school and did not get on with my parents so I left home as soon as I was able to support myself. That was not easy in 1957/8, because employment opportunities were limited. I decided the best escape route was through an open competition for entry to the Civil Service, and I took it. I remained in the UK Civil Service for the greater part of my life.

In the course of my career I did many things, including personal casework, policy formulation, union and employer relations, indirect taxation, operational management, financial management, general management, consultancy, and negotiation - in half a dozen different Government Departments. Towards the end of my career in the UK because of the breadth of my experience the British Council asked me to organise residential courses for foreign senior civil servants and politicians, and I undertook some short-term advisory assignments in Namibia, South Africa and Colombia. At the end of 1994 the Government of Namibia invited me to become Chairman of a special Commission set up to review the pay and structure of the public service there, from the President downwards. I took early retirement from the UK Civil Service to do this, and spent three years in Namibia. At the end of that time I moved to the South of Spain and after a further two years returned to my home in Westminster which I had kept throughout my time abroad. I am now living back in the heart of London just by Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic).

Towards the end of my UK Civil Service career I was invested as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath and became an armiger.

I was greatly honoured by appointment in early 2004 as a Pursuivant Extraordinary of the Heraldische Gemeinschaft Westfalen. The full arms which go with that appointment are reproduced on the right, a version prepared by Alex Kurov who also produced the version of my English arms shown on this page.

Now that I am fully retired I keep up my interest in my hobbies of heraldry and genealogy, ecclesiology, and the churches of the City of London. From 2009 to 2015 I was fabric churchwarden of St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London, which was described by Pevsner as one of the ten finest buildings in England.

I am a Freeman of the City of London, Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners and Brother of the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks. I was also Chairman of the White Lion Society, a society of friends of the College of Arms, from 2007 to 2016.

In November 2010 I was elected a Governor of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, representing the Eastern part of the City of Westminster. It was a time-consuming but fascinating job, particularly interesting in such a time of change for the National Health Service. I retired from it in November 2016.

My full CV is here if you are interested.

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