FORMER Wellington School pupil Lt Gen Sir Freddie Viggers has been appointed Black Rod, the senior official responsible for the day to day management of the House of Lords.

Sir Freddie, who was head of Army personnel, takes up the £81,600 a year post following the retirement of Lieut Gen Sir Michael Will-cocks.

He maintained his local links through his late father, Fred, who lived in Norton Fitzwarren until his death this summer, and his stepmother, Julie.

He helped his father organise a Help for Heroes initiative in the village hall earlier this year.

His full title is Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain and Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Lords.

He will carry out ceremonial duties, including summoning MPs to hear the Queen’s Speech and other roles in the Upper Chamber.

Black Rod is most famous for knocking on the doors of the Commons after they are slammed in his face during the State Opening of Parli-ament.

Sir Freddie, who took a senior role with UK forces in Iraq, was a staunch defender of his troops and campaigned for better MoD hou-sing for members of the Armed Forces.