Memorial Service Held for Clan Hay Chieftain

William Hay, 15th Earl of Kinnoull, 1935-2013

A service of thanksgiving for the life of William, Earl of Kinnoull, was held at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, on Tuesday 29th October.

The Earl, who died in Perthshire on 7th June, was an active member of the House of Lords for more than 40 years, so it was entirely appropriate that this memorial should take place in the main church of the United Kingdom parliament, close by the historic Westminster Abbey.

The service was attended by the Earl of Erroll, Chief of Clan Hay, his son, Harry, Lord Hay, the Lord Mayor of Westminster and by a representative of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

At the start of the service, the Rector of St Margaret's, the Rev Canon Andrew Tremlett, pronounced the following bidding prayer, summing up much of what was important in Lord Kinnoull's life:

"We have come together in this Parish Church of the Palace of Westminster to give thanks to God for the life and work of William, 15th Earl of Kinnoull.

"'Very capable and most informative' were the words which greeted his maiden speech delivered as a young man, but which could equally have been used to describe his contributions in the House of Lords over more than 40 years.

"William Hay's life was framed by his passion for farming, property and land, aviation, and the sea, with business interests stretching from his farm in Perthshire to prawn fishing in Gambia.  Beyond the Lords, he served as an assembly member of the Council of Europe, as President of the National Council on Inland Transport, and as Chairman of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.  Committed to the best in British education, he was a great supporter of long term educational establishments, especially Harris Manchester College, Oxford, where he was a Fellow, and St John's School, Leatherhead, where he was a governor.

"William is most fondly remembered by his family as a devoted husband and father, endued with a great sense of fairness and with that special gift to make all he met feel valued."

Readings were given from 1st Corinthians and from Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress by his daughters Lady Iona and Lady Melissa, and from Max Ehrmann by Angus Cheape, his friend and business partner in Langley Taylor, the Edinburgh land agency.  His son Charles, 16th Earl of Kinnoull, gave the address.

The Rev Dr Ralph Waller, Principal of Harris Manchester College, elaborated on Lord Kinnoull's life as he read the prayers, giving thanks "for William's ready wit and humour; for his keen intellect and sense of fairness; for his positive approach to life and for his passion for land, education and the deep sea fishing industry."

He will be sadly missed.