Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant



The Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran is Sheriff Iona Sara McDonald.
She was appointed in 2017 by Her Majesty The Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, having previously served as a Deputy Lieutenant since 2014


Sheriff McDonald was educated at Cumnock Academy and she graduated from Glasgow University with a Master of Arts in 1976 and Law degree in 1978. She subsequently joined the Ayr firm Mathie-Morton, Black and Buchanan and became a partner in 1982. She was appointed as a temporary Sheriff in 1994 and received a full appointment in 2000 to the Sheriffdom of North Strathclyde, sitting in Paisley and Kilmarnock Sheriff courts. Since 2007 she has been Senior Sheriff at Kilmarnock.

During her distinguished career Sheriff McDonald has held a number of other positions. She has acted as a court reporter in family cases and as a safeguarder in children’s hearings. She has been a facilitator for judicial studies training and a mentor to newly appointed Sheriffs. In 2010 she was appointed a member of the Scottish Courts Service Board where she is chair of the Estates Committee. She was also involved in the training of Justices of the Peace and Children’s Panel members. Sheriff Iona McDonald is involved in charity fundraising, in particular for the British Heart Foundation

The Lord-Lieutenant is supported in her role by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant and a number of Deputy Lieutenants.

Vice Lord-Lieutenant

As well as being given designated duties by the Lord-Lieutenant, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant will carry out the normal duties of the Lord- Lieutenant should she be away, ill, or unable to attend herself.

The current Vice Lord-Lieutenant is Mr John Dalrymple Hamilton.

John Dalrymple Hamilton lives near Girvan, South Ayrshire, where he manages the family farm and rural business.

He was educated at Aberdeen University (MA Hons), then had a first career with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in the UK and Europe. He retrained at The East of Scotland College of Agriculture before moving to Ayrshire to work in the family business.

John Dalrymple Hamilton joined the Territorial Army and was Commissioned into The Queen's Own Yeomanry, an armoured reconnaissance regiment, commanding from 1989-1992 (OBE Mil.) After serving for 25 years, he retired as a Colonel and Deputy Commander of 52 Brigade, based at Edinburgh Castle.

He is also an Officer in The Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland. Furthermore he has been Chairman of the Lowlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, Chairman of Ayrshire Country Lamb Ltd, Chairman and Trustee of Gardening Leave, Chairman of The Girvan River Board, and Board Member of the Burns National Heritage Park.

John Dalrymple Hamilton is married, and has three grown up children. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, skiing, and curling.