Farish: Ambassadorship is Challenging, Exciting

The role of the U. S. Embassy in London, England has taken on added significance since the terrorist bombings of Sept. 11, according to William S. Farish, the Lane's End Farm owner who began his tenure in the diplomatic post last July.

"Embassy London is involved in virtually every crisis that's going on throughout the world," Farish told the Lexington Herald-Leader in an interview. "It's been a great challenge in many, many ways, but a very exciting one."

Farish returned to the U.S. last week for the first time since he and his wife, Sarah, relocated to England. According to the newspaper, Farish attended meetings in Washington, D.C., will visit Lane's End, and will go to Florida before returning to London.

Farish, who oversees the Embassy's 800-member staff, said the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequent international initiative against terrorism strengthened U.S.-British diplomatic ties.

In addition to thousands of messages and flowers delivered to the Embassy by sympathetic Britons, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ordered the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by the Buckingham Palace musicians during the changing of the guard, the first time that has happened, Farish said.

"The support of the royal family and of the entire government has been terrific," Farish told the newspaper. "The remarkable support we've seen for our country on behalf of the free world -- not just Great Britain -- has been astounding to Sarah and I."

Farish said he would like to return to the U. S. for the May 4 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, where he served as board chairman until accepting President Bush's appointment as British ambassador. But Farish said his future travel plans all depend upon world events. "This is the type of post where you can make plans, but you have to break them a great deal," Farish said.