‘If they knew how passionate he is, they’ll certainly change their mind’: Doddington chauffeur David Rowlands on meeting Boris Johnson, maintaining professionalism and putting family first
- Credit: Archant
He’s driven him hundreds of miles, shared jokes with him, and watched intently as he barnstormed his way across Britain.
"People may think he comes across as a little unconventional in his approach towards politics. But if they knew how passionate he is for this country, they will certainly change their mind" is how chauffeur David Rowlands describes Boris Johnson.
"He's a very intelligent man," says David, before discreetly changing the subject.
Discretion is not simply something he's learnt, but what he knew to expect when he became a chauffeur more than 20 years ago.
When he leaves his Doddington home for work each day, the only person to call on his services now is Lord Howard of Rising.
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Not only this, but he has driven members of the Royal Family and more recently other politicians, all under the knowledge of his lordship.
"I didn't set out to be a chauffeur, I set out to be a soldier," David said.
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"It's something that I've enjoyed and without it, I wouldn't have met my wife and have the lovely family that I've got."
Originally from Wales, David has long been involved in a driving capacity from his experience in the British Army and, as time progressed, so did the excitement factor.
He said: "As you join the army, you suddenly realise it's like one big family. They will go out of their way to help people, which I think that's what I've kept."
No stranger to meeting high-profile figures, there are others who David can add to the long list of memorable characters.
"Princess Alice was definitely a marvellous lady and she had a great way with people," he says.
"Princess Margaret possessed a sense of fun. Princess Diana was always very grateful and worried that if you did too much work, she felt guilty in herself that you were doing too much."
Having occasionally driven former Prime Minister Lord Home whilst at Kensington Palace as a staff sergeant, transporting different politicians with potentially different views may just have been one element of David's chauffeuring duties.
Despite this, having a political allegiance is no problem.
"I don't think it matters who you vote for, as long as you carry out your job in a professional way," he says.
"If I said to my employer I was a Labour supporter, that wouldn't worry him too much, as long as I did my job alright."
Maintaining professionalism is key for David in what could become a precarious position.
"You've always got that bit of discipline behind you so you know how to treat people and when you should and shouldn't speak," he says.
"In fact, I don't think I've ever given them an answer that they've been angry about."
From stepping foot in the army at 16 to taking on his latest chauffeuring role 20 years ago, it's been a career David has thoroughly enjoyed without an issue. "Especially in Doddington, I found that people are quite interested in the job that you do," he says.
"I haven't had any animosity towards me just because of what I do, which I think speaks a lot for the village."
David has never lacked confidence in asking for assistance, nor does he look to retire any time soon from the job he admires.
"A lot of people when they retire from the services, they take on a gentler role, but I don't think I'll ever retire. I quite like being busy," he says.
What one man from the small Welsh market town of Dolgellau can achieve could be somewhat an inspiration to others, something that David realises. "To achieve the career they want, they mustn't be afraid of working hard and must respect the people that are trying to teach them."
David's role has made a lasting impact on his life, that's for sure, but having known his true sense of responsibility towards others, it makes sense there's only one goal he is satisfied with.
"Money has never been a great incentive; as long as I've got enough to live on and my family are happy, that suits me."