Green crusader becomes baronet

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The Independent Online
JONATHAN Porritt, one of Britain's best-known environmentalists, has become a baronet. He inherited the title on the death of his father, Lord Porritt, a former governor-general of New Zealand, Olympic athlete and surgeon.

But last night the peer's eldest son said he was unlikely to be styling himself 'Sir Jonathan' in the course of his environmental campaigning. 'I look on it as a family thing, not a professional one. We're enormously proud of what dad achieved in his life and the title is part of that. So for that reason I'm happy to inherit it, but it won't make any difference to me or my work,' he said.

Arthur Espie Porritt, a New Zealander, studied medicine in Britain in the 1920s and was surgeon to King George VI. He became Sergeant Surgeon to the Queen until 1967 when he returned to New Zealand as governor-general until he retired in 1973.

Lord Porritt, who was created a baronet in 1963 and a life peer 10 years later, won a bronze medal in the 100 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics - the Games featured in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. He was married twice, the second time in 1946 to Kathleen Peck. They had two sons and a daughter.

Jonathan, 43, is a former teacher and was director of Friends of the Earth between 1984 and 1990. Married with a daughter, he writes, broadcasts and has stood for Parliament twice as an Ecology Party candidate. He is pondering how to create a broad-based 'sustainable living' alliance with political clout.

Obituary, page 12