Lord Leycester Hospital has new female master who spent years in Afghanistan - The Leamington Observer

Lord Leycester Hospital has new female master who spent years in Afghanistan

Leamington Editorial 8th Dec, 2016   0

THE HISTORIC Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick has made an historic appointment.

The 600-year-old medieval buildings of the former Guilds of Warwick and the Elizabethan home for old soldiers, has appointed a first female head in its 445-year history.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Guild Buildings of Warwick became a place of retirement for former soldiers, known as the Brethren. The Brethren and Master, who live within the walls of the building, are a living legacy of almost 450 years of uninterrupted history.

Heidi Meyer has assumed the role of Master – taking over from Lt Col Gerald Lesinski – a position held from the time of Elizabeth I by only male clergymen and retired military officers.

Mrs Meyer has spent 35 years working abroad, including for the US Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, Washington, and the US Embassy in Afghanistan, where the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a regular visitor.

Her move to the Lord Leycester comes after working as a senior political advisor to the commander of NATO Land Forces in Turkey.

Mrs Meyer said: “Being the first female Master of the Lord Leycester is certainly a change in the tradition of the hospital but I think Queen Elizabeth I would have approved.

“In previous roles, I have regularly been the only female in the work environment, so this is nothing new. Our Brethren are retired military men and I think the fact I have spent five years in a war zone in Afghanistan and worked with soldiers for most of my life, gives us all common ground.”

Mrs Meyer said her main objective was to work towards a sustainable future for the Lord Leycester, which has featured in television programmes such as Pride and Prejudice and Dr Who.

Mrs Meyer added: “This place has stood for 600 years, we must provide for it to stand for another 600 years. “The Lord Leycester is one of the jewels in Warwick’s crown. One of my challenges for the next five years, as we head towards our 450 th anniversary, is to put in place an innovative and creative plan with local organisations to help it thrive.”

Richard Moon, a partner at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, in Rugby Road, Leamington, whose firm advised on Mrs Meyer’s appointment, said: “Mrs Meyer has had a fascinating career and her background and expertise will be well suited to her new post as Master.”

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