Royal Family representative Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison dies aged 88

Northumberland landowner and visionary Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison, of Alnwick, has died at the age of 88

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother unveils a plaque at Tyne Tees Television with chairman Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison on 14 June 1989
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother unveils a plaque at Tyne Tees Television with chairman Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison on 14 June 1989

A one time representative in the North East for the Royal Family and a visionary in the creation of Kielder Water has died.

Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison, who welcomed the Queen and other royals to the region as Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and was chairman of the Northumbrian Water Authority when Kielder Water was built, has died aged 88.

He was born at Beanley on his family’s Hedgeley Estate, near Alnwick in Northumberland, where he lived all his life.

Sir Ralph went to boarding school in the South of England before joining the army towards the end of the Second World War, initially with the Royal Dragoons and later the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars.

He was in training for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.

Sir Ralph served in the army until 1949, in Austria and Germany.

Thereon, he looked after the farm estate, up until around the mid 1980s.

Sir Ralph had a long career with the Northumberland Hussars, a part time regiment of the Territorial Army that became the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, from 1949 to the 1990s, ending up as a Colonel Commandant.

He was the chairman of Northumbrian Water Authority when it built Kielder Water in the 1970s.

Sir Ralph was left partially disabled after he was in a tunnel which collapsed during a visit to wish workers a happy Christmas, in the Pennines in 1979.

He also acted as Lord Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, serving as the Royals’ representative in the area, from 1984 to 2000. In this role, Sir Ralph welcomed the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Duke and Duchess of Kent to the area.

Sir Ralph would also be involved in the creation of the regional development agency One NorthEast in later life.

Son John Carr-Ellison said: “He was all about raising the North East profile and his role was to bring people together and harness talents, which he enjoyed very much.”

Sir Ralph was also at various times chairman of the AA, of Tyne Tees TV and Trident Television.

He was heavily involved in the Scout movement both in Northumberland and nationally, and in the Conservative Association.

Sir Ralph married twice, to Mary in 1951 and following her death in 1996 to Gay, in 1998.

He had four children; John, who now runs the family estate, Simon, who lives in New York, Rosie, who lives on a farm in Yorkshire, and Drew, who lives in Istanbul, as well as eight grandchildren and eight step grandchildren.

Sir Ralph was a lover of the countryside and was keen on hunting and shooting.

John said: “He was interested in the Northumberland countryside and was involved in charitable organisations. That Northumberland countryside and Tyne and Wear and the people in it. His real interest was people.”

Sir Ralph died late last month, on August 26. His funeral took place at Eglingham near Alnwick on Thursday, while a memorial service is to be arranged at Newcastle.


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