I was born in Jamaica a fifth generation Jamaican. My ancestors left Scotland in the mid-19th century to go to Jamaica and Aitkens have lived there ever since.

When I was around seven or eight I moved to Cwmbran in the mid-1960s before being sent away to boarding school at St George’s in Windsor.

I stayed there for five years and that’s where I developed my love of music, which has been a constant theme throughout my life.

My first ever paid employment was playing the piano at The Royal Hotel in Usk, which in those days was owned by the great Dr Russell Rhys.

I managed to get a choral scholarship to the Queen’s College Oxford on the basis that I had to sign in the chapel choir whenever they wanted me, which was no hardship at all as I loved doing it.

I didn’t finish my degree and left prematurely so I could join the Army in 1977. I joined the Royal Regiment of Wales and stayed there for the next 35 years.

I had a terrific time as in those days you could still see the world. I joined up with my regiment in Belize and within the first two years I had done tours in Canada, Northern Ireland, Germany, and Hong Kong.

I have only been shot at twice in the Army, with the first time happening as a second lieutenant while in Northern Ireland.

We were patrolling in Armagh when someone took a pot shot at me, and the second happened when I was a brigadier and commander of the British forces in Bosnia in 2000.

But I was never in any particular danger while I served, with Northern Ireland and Bosnia being my only operational tours.

I was so glad that fate had ended up with me being in a Welsh regiment. The people of South Wale are just the most fantastic people to work with.

I served with some of the bravest, cheekiest, and most loyal guys possible.

We all used to sing in the Army, with squaddies singing in the back of trucks on the way to the range or an exercise.

Whatever tour I was on there was always some role for music. The pinnacle of my success was as commanding officer in Northern Ireland when there was a cease fire and I was a bit bored.

I performed a male voice choir out of soldiers in the Royal Reg of Wales by just ordering 100 soldiers to just turn up and sing

From there we formed a Welsh male voice choir and sang ‘Myfanwy’ and ‘Hand me down my silver trumpet’ at the Royal Albert Hall for the Festival of Remembrance in front of the Queen.

That was 100 guys who had never sung properly before with an average age of 19 and that was wonderful to be able to do that.

Can I call myself a Welshman? It’s difficult. I was born in Jamaica, I don’t have a welsh accent I live in Wales, joined the Welsh regiment and there’s no doubt who I support in the Six Nations.

I feel very Welsh and I’m fiercely defensive against those who make fun of the Welsh.

Wales is where I live, and it has been my life. I live with my wife Joanna and have two sons who are both very musically inclined.

Freddie, aged 23, lives in Manchester and produces electronic music and runs a record label. James, 21, who is in his last year at Cardiff University is a tenor and to my great fury is a better tenor than I am.

I received a CBE in 2009, which was fantastic as I felt it was a mark of society appreciating what I had done during my time with the Army.

I left the Army in 2011 and went to work at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff before getting the opportunity to run Music in Hospitals Wales.

It’s a music charity that organises live music concerts delivered by professional musicians for people who are sick, elderly or disabled.

In Wales we do up to 500 of those concerts every year just using music to cheer people up. It is to my mind exactly what you should be using music for.

I served as Deputy Lord Lieutenant before being made Lord Lieutenant in March 2016.

As the Queen’s representative in the preserved county of Gwent, I attend events which would be appropriate for the royal family to attend but they are unable to go.

Whenever a member of the royal family is in Gwent I am required to be attendance with them and indeed I was when the Princess Royal came to Abertillery recently.

Part of my job is to get ideas from people in Gwent for any event or occasion that they think would benefit from a royal visit.

I would then write to that member and recommend them to come and visit, if any readers can think of an opportunity that’s happening that would benefit, let me know and I’ll do what I can.

As Lord Lieutenant I encourage as many people as possible just to go online and fill out a form and have a chance of rewarding somebody who has gone the extra mile.

There are faults with our honours system, it’s not perfect, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who isn’t excited and honoured to be given an award from Order of the British Empire.

There are also other awards such as the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which was awarded to Longton Mountain Rescue Team in Abergavenny and Pride in Pill in Newport.

Pride in Pill is a wonderful and strong community group.

There is also the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which is a little bit more commercial but gives business the chance to carry a royal mark on their correspondence if they are nominated.

Through my role I’ve been lucky to have met some fantastic people who are doing wonderful things in their communities.

l For more information about the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and his duties, visit www.lordlieutenantofgwent.co.uk

To contact his office, email LLGwent@monmouthshire.gov.uk or his clerk at CathSheen@monmouthshire.gov.uk.