A BUSINESSMAN from Dorset who unexpectedly acquired a Lordship title is now using the hereditary honour to fundraise for local charities.
Stephen Young, the owner of Stephen Young Plumbing and Heating Services, found out he was the Lord of Westbury following his grandmother’s death.
Following the news that he was the owner of the lordship title in 2009, Mr Young decided to use the title to fundraise for charity.
Five years on, he has been made an ambassador of Lewis Manning Hospice, and a patron of Julia’s House, the RAF Ibsley Historical Group and the Bournemouth Air Festival.
His business, which he set up after serving in the armed forces, specialises in servicing Aga cookers across the south coast, especially around west Dorset and into the Blackmore Vale.
He still works for his firm as he only has to attend occasional functions at the House of Lords.
Mr Young's family moved to Dorset nearly 50 years ago when he was a few years old.
“Many years ago when I was a child we used to visit Buckinghamshire as a family and I remember always asking my relatives who our ancestors were, because at their burial plots there were always big, expensive gravestones,” he said.
“My grandmother always used to joke about it and say we came from nobility and money but that it had died out of the family.
“When my grandmother died I found out some more information, including deeds and letters relating to our family’s old estate. We thought that the family had sold the family’s estate and with it the title of Lord in 1916, but a historian told me that wasn’t the case and I owned the title.”
Mr Young, 52, said: “At the time of finding out it was a bit much to take in. I was a bit shy about using it, I didn’t want people to think I was something that I wasn’t. I received a few abusive messages through Facebook.
“That’s why I use it for charity, I use the lordship title for fundraising purposes and that’s it. I get a small income, which is nothing major, from telegraph poles and BT, but the only reason I use the title is to raise money.”