On 20 February 2018 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, paid tribute to the outgoing Black Rod, Sir David Leakey, and welcomed the first female Black Rod, Sarah Clarke, to her new role.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, from these Benches I emphasise our gratitude to Sir David, particularly for the steadfast and dependable way he supported this House during quite a challenging term of office, with threats to the building from without and within. He will be remembered by the Lords spiritual especially for the time he took to welcome each one of us when we first arrived, and of course for his self-deprecating sense of humour.
On a personal note, there has been a long connection between my diocese and holders of the office of Black Rod, and we both serve as officers of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. I am personally grateful to him for the support he gave me when I took up my role as Prelate to the Order. I shall miss our conversations about Kenya, and I hope his retirement from this House will afford him more time to spend on his smallholding. We wish Sarah all the very best in her new role as Black Rod.