Mrs Francesca Skelton (email@example.com)
The High Sheriff for Buckinghamshire 2015-2016
Francesca Skelton DL
Francesca was brought up in Cambridge, did her degree at Bristol University including a year at university in Berlin, and a postgraduate year studying and teaching at the University of British Colombia. She returned to the UK in 1977 to marry John who had recently joined Open University Educational Enterprises and they set up home in Milton Keynes. Francesca commuted to London for 14 years, first working for The Guardian in advertising and then moving to IPC Magazines in 1981 for the launch of a new woman's magazine, Options. She became a Publisher, overseeing all aspects of a portfolio of magazines which included Ideal Home. On the birth of her second child she decided to work locally. She moved from the private to the voluntary sector to manage the charity Relate Milton Keynes where she worked for ten years. No longer a commuter, the community of Milton Keynes became Francesca's focus and she also took on voluntary roles. She became a Trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, serving a three year term as Chair. She later became a Governor of Milton Keynes College and served a rewarding six year term as Chair of the Board of Governors until 2013. She is a Philanthropy Fellow for the MK Community Foundation where she is still a Trustee, and she remains a committed ambassador for Milton Keynes College. She joined the Danesborough Chorus, is a Patron of Milton Keynes Gallery and is a Trustee of Milton Keynes Arts and Heritage Alliance.
Francesca has been a Deputy Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire since 2007.
Francesca and John have two children, Tom and Anna, who have now graduated from university. John became Managing Director and co-owner of Open University Press, which was based in Buckingham until 2002 when it was sold to McGraw Hill. He has continued to be on the Board of several independent publishers. Francesca and her husband John have lived in Great Linford, a village in Milton Keynes that dates back to medieval times, for 36 years. She is intrigued to be following in the footsteps of High Sheriffs Thomas Uthwatt, Esquire of Great Linford in 1726 and Henry Andrewes Uthwatt, Esquire of Great Linford in 1831. Just as modern Milton Keynes connects to its historic roots, so the modern High Sheriff links back to a long history of the oldest secular role in the country. Francesca will fulfil the traditional High Sheriff's role of supporting law and justice in the county, and will have a personal theme of culture and community. She will support both the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Community Foundations, and welcomes the High Sheriff year as an opportunity to celebrate partnership and connection across the whole county.
The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2014-2015
Joe Barclay and his wife, Joanna, live near Latimer in the Chilterns and not far from the beautiful Chess Valley. It has been Joe’s base since 1952 when his parents moved there. His father was a diplomat, so there were childhood spells abroad - in Copenhagen and Brussels - and he too has worked overseas - slightly further afield - in San Francisco and also in Paris. The Barclays have three adult children, one son-in-law, one grandson and a Border Terrier.
After three happy years at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where Joe developed a lifelong interest in Geography, played rugger for his college and learned solo aerobatics with the University RAF Air Squadron, life became more serious. He joined Barclays Bank in 1969, working in various locations for the next 30 years - Peterborough, Birmingham, London and Bristol, as well as California and France and a period at INSEAD Business School. In 1999 Joe left banking to return to Oxford University to establish a new department in the University to improve the interaction between the academic world and business. Twelve years later, he retired from that role. During his time working for the University he was on numerous outside boards, one of which was Venturefest, of which he was Chairman for four years. Venturefest is a successful not-for-profit company that seeks to harness new business ideas - high technology in particular - to capital. He remains an Honorary Fellow of his old college and is involved in their Development Campaign. He is also a trustee of The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Trust, The City of London Endowment Trust for St Paul’s Cathedral, The Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Trust and the Lady Mico Trust. The latter supports the Mico University College in Kingston, Jamaica.
Joe comes from a family with Quaker ancestry and deep roots in public service and philanthropy. He welcomes the prospect of being able to “put something back” into the County of his upbringing during his year as High Sheriff. He looks forward to working with the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation and the Milton Keynes Community Foundation in fostering the many small, and often low profile, charities in the County, as well as fulfilling the traditional and key role of High Sheriff in supporting law and order. As part of his preparation for his year in office, Joe has bicycled to all 216 civil parishes in the County.Joe is a keen traveller, often in unusual places. In his youth he hitch-hiked from Cape Town to Cairo and a year or two later he drove a Land Rover to Delhi and back. It is a bit less of the backpacker style now, but the wanderlust remains. When at home in Buckinghamshire he is essentially a family man and lover of the country. As such he enjoys pottering about, often on the seat of his grey 1952 Fergusson tractor .
The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2013-2014
Sir Stuart and his wife Angela have lived in Bledlow Ridge, near Princes Risborough, for some 20 years. They have two adult children – Rachel, who lives in Gran Canaria, and Jonathan, who lives in London.
Sir Stuart’s professional career has been in three parts.
After a degree in Modern Languages at Oxford he joined the Civil Service, with postings in the Board of Trade, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in Geneva, and the Department of Prices & Consumer Protection. He served as Private Secretary to a number of Ministers – Roy Hattersley, John Nott and John Biffen. In ‘Yes, Minister’ terms he was Bernard aspiring to be Sir Humphrey!
In 1982 he abandoned Cabinet secrets and started selling pyjamas at John Lewis – the start of a 25 year career at the UK’s best known employee-owned business. After appointment to the Board in 1986 he became Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership in 1993, a role he held for 14 years, and he remains a strong advocate of employee ownership and engagement.
Sir Stuart is now non-executive Chairman and First Commissioner of The Crown Estate, which manages the Sovereign’s holdings of commercial property, farmland and the sea-bed out to 12 miles and which returns the revenues from these assets to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation.
Sir Stuart was Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts (1999-2001) and President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (2006). He was made a Knight Bachelor for services to retailing in 1998.
As a London commuter for most of his career Sir Stuart sees this High Sheriff year as an opportunity to put something back into the County which has been his home for so long. As well as continuing his links with Epilepsy Society and Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care he looks forward to working with the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation and Milton Keynes Community Foundation to support the many low-profile organisations and voluntary groups which play a vital part in upholding the cohesion of Buckinghamshire society and the High Sheriff’s remit of law and order.
Sir Stuart will frequently be seen in his 1955 Jaguar XK140, in which he and his intrepid navigator Angela have driven several long rallies, including the full length of the American continent – first, from Panama north to Alaska and then from Colombia south to Tierra del Fuego.
The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2012-2013
Carolyn has played an active role in the community of Buckingham, taking a special interest in architecture and planning. In 2000 she initiated and led the Buckingham Town Design Group, which published a Vision & Design Statement for the town of Buckingham. Subsequently, she became involved with a number of civic organizations such as The Civic Trust, ANTAS (Association of North Thames Amenity Societies) and Civic Voice. She is currently a Trustee of the Buckingham Centre for the Arts and has chaired the committee which set up and runs The Film Place, Buckingham’s independent, part-time community cinema.
Born in Scotland, Carolyn was brought up on the family farm in Cambridgeshire. She is married to Robert and they moved to Buckinghamshire in 1979. They have two daughters in their twenties, Chloe and Phoebe. Phoebe will be assisting Carolyn as her ‘girl Friday’ during her Shrieval year. Both Carolyn and Robert share a passion for the arts, Carolyn having worked in the Impressionist and Modern Picture Department at Christies, while Robert set up and ran Christies Education. More recently, Carolyn has supported Robert in his role as Dean of the London Campus of Boston University.
Carolyn has a garden design business and is a firm believer in the value of matching space to place. Nevertheless, she considers the most important (and probably the hardest!) job of all to be that of a ‘hands-on’ parent, a role too often overshadowed or taken for granted.
Combining her enthusiasm for the countryside and the arts with her wish to acknowledge the many voluntary organisations who support parents and families, Carolyn intends to traverse the diverse and distinctive county of Buckinghamshire on horseback during her year as High Sheriff. Supported by Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Community Foundations, she hopes the ride will help to highlight some of the charitable initiatives which they have helped to fund and to encourage and thank many of the excellent and varied voluntary groups in the county.
The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2011-2012
James Naylor grew up in Yorkshire and moved to Buckinghamshire in 1976. After attending universities in Leeds and New York, he has followed a career in the leisure and entertainment industry during which time he has been responsible for the direction of numerous businesses including, among others, Blackpool’s famous Tower to seaside piers, sports clubs, discotheques, bowling alleys, theatres, restaurants, leisure centres, nursing homes, marinas, caravan and amusement parks. More recently he has been chairing a pet food manufacturing company.
He is married to Pippa and they have two sons and a daughter. His interests include golf, fishing, travel and cricket.
He is a trustee of Restore – Burn and wound Research based at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The trust supports research into the biochemical changes that occur after a burn with a view to finding treatments for the consequential scarring and disfigurement.
During his shrieval year he is looking forward to promoting close cooperation between the service sector and voluntary groups; supporting the Chilterns MS Centre, the Community Foundations; and raising the profile of those selflessly caring for the disabled and disadvantaged.
Elizabeth was born in Dorset in 1955 and her early childhood was spent in Kenya where her father was a forestry commissioner.
Her parents returned to the UK in 1963 and later settled in Buckinghamshire in Ickford. She went to school in Oxford and then achieved a childhood ambition to become a teacher by taking a teacher training course at Homerton College, Cambridge completing her studies with a BEd degree in Geography and Music. She enjoyed seven rewarding years of teaching before leaving to get married to Frederick Curzon in 1983. After he inherited the title Earl Howe in 1984 they moved to the family home in Penn, Buckinghamshire. The move to Penn gave rise to many varied opportunities to become involved in the county.
Her interest in teaching led to her becoming a governor at Curzon C of E Combined School in Penn Street Village and at Little Missenden C of E Infant School. After the birth of her four children, Anna, now 23, Flora 20, Lucy 18 and Tom 15, she became a Governor of Godstowe Preparatory School and more recently of Oundle School. She was briefly a member of the Bucks Schools Organisation Committee until it closed in 2008. She has found being a school governor immensely rewarding and looks forward to continuing her voluntary work in this area.
Elizabeth has involved herself in many local charitable causes, with a particular emphasis on the work of St John Ambulance of whom she is County President. Her other charities include Action4Youth, The Amersham Festival, Beaconsfield Decorative and Fine Arts society, Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, Action Research, Seeleys House and The Purcell School. The range and diversity of these charities reflect her varied interests.
Elizabeth is a keen sportsman, having been a county hockey player and squash coach and she continues to play tennis. She likes to keep fit and can frequently be seen in the early mornings running along the footpaths of the Penn estate.
Her keen interest in music has led to all four of her children following a musical path at school and university. One of her greatest pleasures now is to hear them play string quartets together. Her other interests include theatre, books and travel and concert going.
In 1994 she was honoured to be appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the county. This role has enabled her to meet many people in the county in a variety of situations and given her the chance to see some of the exceptional voluntary work going on in Buckinghamshire. It is a position which she feels privileged to hold.
Despite having been brought up in Buckinghamshire, Elizabeth is acutely aware of how little she knows about the county. She very much looks forward to the opportunity to learn about the many facets of county life, from the Judiciary, to the law enforcement agencies, the statutory bodies and the voluntary sector. Most of all she looks forward to meeting and thanking many of the unsung heroes amongst the diverse communities of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
Allan was born in Bombay, India in May 1947 and lived in India until he was 9 when the family returned to the U K to live in Surrey. He was educated in Sussex and Surrey then spent a few years working and travelling in Australia and Asia before coming back to London where he started his career in the wine trade.
In 1975 he married Annabel (nee Howard), whose family lived in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. They started their married life in Kent before moving to London in 1978.
He came to live in Buckinghamshire in 1983, living first in Princes Risborough before moving to his present home in Butlers Cross, near Aylesbury in 1997.
He has spent most of his career in the wine trade and has worked for companies owned by Allied Domecq (Grants of St James’s), Grand Metropolitan (International Distillers & Vintners), G & J Greenall (Harvey Prince & Co). In 1990 he formed International Wine Services (I W S) which was then owned by Grants of St James’s. The company specialised in supplying wines from around the world to the major UK High Street retailers. IWS was first based in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire but as the company grew it moved to larger premises in Beaconsfield. He completed an M B O of I W S in 1994 and went on to sell the company 5 years later to Scottish & Newcastle Plc (Waverley Vintners). He remained with I W S until 2002 when he left to pursue other interests including 4 months voluntary work as a teacher in India. He is now semi retired and has a small Consultancy business located at Butlers Cross.
Family and interests
Allan has 3 children. Katharine, 30, who lives in Tokyo and works for Savills. Simon and Oliver, twins aged 28, both live and work in London (for Colliers CRE & Drivers Jonas) and are in their final year before qualifying as surveyors.
After the children completed their education, Annabel worked for 5 years for the Abbeyfield Buckinghamshire Society in Halton, remaining on the Executive Committee for a further 4 years. She was Chairman of the Princes Risborough Friends of the Home Farm Trust from 2001-2006. She also worked in India as a volunteer teacher, together with Allan, in 2003.
In addition he has several charitable interests. He is a Vice President of Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, a Friend of the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation, a long time supporter of PACE and is Chairman of the Mondo Challenge Foundation, a charity based in Northamptonshire. The Foundation supports a number of local communities, at grass roots level, mainly in India, Tanzania, Gambia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka providing educational and business development opportunities and relief from financial hardships.
He is on the Council of The Wine & Spirit Trades’ Benevolent Society and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.
Allan is a keen sportsman and a strong supporter of Wasps RFC. Other interests include theatre, music, travel, sailing, going for long drives in his Austin Healey 3000 and walking his dog in the Chilterns!
2009 / 2010
As someone who has worked and lived in Buckinghamshire for over 26 years Allan is looking forward enormously to having the opportunity to learn so much more about the county and to getting an insight into many Buckinghamshire authorities and organisations. He also looks forward to meeting, and being able to thank personally, many of the people who work, often as unpaid and unacknowledged volunteers, for the good of the county quietly doing wonderful work.
Peter Thorogood is a Buckinghamshire farmer and agricultural consultant who has now largely retired from active farming but who maintains a keen interest in environmental and country matters. He has other property and business interests based in Buckinghamshire.
Born in Bristol in 1940, he first came to Buckinghamshire in 1959 when his widowed mother bought a house in Great Horwood. He has lived mostly in the county ever since. Widowed in 1977, he has two children by his first wife, and married Leonie in 1986.
He is very much committed to Buckinghamshire. He has been a Governor of Stowe School since 1989 and Deputy Chairman of Governors since 1995. Peter is a founder Trustee of the Stowe House Preservation Trust which is dedicated to the restoration of the grade one listed mansion, one of the finest historic buildings in England, and to the continuing restoration of the Stowe landscape gardens by the National Trust.
Peter has a number of charitable interests: The Buckinghamshire Foundation which connects people who care with causes that matter of which he is a founder Patron. He also actively supports the Citizens Advice Bureau, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and the Milton Keynes Community Foundation.
He has always been grateful to Buckinghamshire, in particular to the County Education Authority, which enabled him to take up a place at agricultural college and to pursue his chosen career after his father died. He considers it a huge privilege to serve as Her Majesty’s High Sheriff for Buckinghamshire, and hopes that in his role as High Sheriff he will be able to extend his knowledge of charitable work within the county, and to encourage and thank the very many people who give so unstintingly of their time, expertise, and financial support to so many good and worthwhile causes.
He considers it an honour to have been asked to follow in the footsteps of so many previous High Sheriffs who have devoted a year of their busy lives without reward to their county in order to act as the sovereign’s representative in the county for all matters relating to the judiciary, and to the maintenance of law and order.
April 2008 Top
The following article was written for the Buckingham Parish Church magazine :-
Six months in the life of The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire
When I was first asked to contribute an article to the Spire, it was only a very short time after I had taken up office in early April. So I suggested that we wait until I had something to say. Being a High Sheriff is like life, there is no dress rehearsal. But unlike life, it’s all over in one very exciting and busy year. I am now six months into this year of office, and with Leonie at my side, we are being allowed an extraordinary insight into the workings of the county of Buckinghamshire, from the beech woods of the Chilterns and the winding River Thames in the south to the pretty rural villages and the vibrancy of Milton Keynes in the north.
The Office of High Sheriff is over a thousand years old, and as a matter of anecdotal interest, I am the first High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire to come from the town of Buckingham in all that time. It is the oldest continuous office under the Crown, has its roots in Saxon times, and predates the formation of Parliament and Magna Carta. The High Sheriff is primarily the Sovereign’s representative in the county for all matters relating to the Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order. So over the past few months we have been given an astonishing insight into many of the tools of our legal system. We have been debriefed by the Chief Constable and her team at Thames Valley Police headquarters, including being able to observe their fascinating forensic laboratories. We have spent working days at each of the interlinked police stations at Burnham, High Wycombe, Amersham and Aylesbury; visited courts, prisons, the Crown Prosecution and Probation Services and the Parole Board, and spent time with various branches of the Armed Services, including being present when the army was given the freedom of Milton Keynes, and on a separate occasion the freedom of Aylesbury.. We have welcomed servicemen home from Iraq and Afghanistan, inspected some of the machinery deep in the famous bunker at RAF Strike Command at High Wycombe, and watched with some emotion a lone Spitfire fly past at RAF Halton in the fading early evening light. We attended a rather wet Cadet Camp in Devon (the cadets are the largest youth group in the county, and many of the youngsters we met had never before travelled so far from home - they loved it all!); and admired the lovingly stitched Girl Guide banners at their special Banner Service at Halton on one of the few sunny days of the summer. We were presented to HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Bletchley Park, were impressed by the magnificent new state-of-the-art library in High Wycombe when it was opened by the Earl of Wessex, admired the light and airy new Aylesbury College building opened by Princess Alexandra, and will have great pleasure in hosting HRH the Duke of Kent when he comes as guest of honour to the High Sheriff’s concert in Milton Keynes in early September. The list is long, but I shouldn’t leave out important groups of people like our magnificent Fire Service who fight fewer fires these days than they perform skilful rescues from serious road accidents and other emergencies. Then there are the hard pressed and hard working NHS trusts, the deeply interesting county archives and a host of local museums, our multifarious universities, schools and sports facilities, and charities like Skidz in Aylesbury and Wheel Power in MK (among many such dedicated small groups) who work with disaffected young, giving them fun things to do while teaching them life skills. Then there are the age-old ceremonies such as the mayor makings, each with its differing traditions, proud civic church services up and down the county, and various other traditional festivities such as the annual carnival and regatta on the Thames at Marlow (did you realise that Marlow all that way to the south is in Buckinghamshire? Lots of people don’t. The Dorney Lakes are in Bucks too), the weighing in in the market square of the mayor and council at High Wycombe – the list is endless, and of endless interest. For Leonie and me, this has been total immersion. It is a privilege to meet the officers of all of these services and organisations, and to be able to thank them personally for the splendid work they do for the community.
Last but not least, each High Sheriff is required to appoint a chaplain for his year of office, and many of you will know Canon David Meara who did me the honour of agreeing to be my chaplain. In October, at the beginning of the new legal term, the High Sheriff holds a Shrieval Service, called by some the Justice Service. The judges process in their robes, and with the clergy and other dignitaries and friends, we come to pray for those who administer justice in our county throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to pray for and to thank those dedicated people who work in the voluntary sector and who give unstintingly of their time and resources in so many ways. Part of my role is to support the voluntary sector, and on my travels I can’t help feeling humbled by the numbers of people caring for others less fortunate than themselves. More than 20 million people in Britain take part in some form of voluntary or unpaid community or charitable work, and Buckinghamshire is no exception. For many High Sheriffs, this Shrieval service is one of the highlights of their year of office, and I am very grateful to the Rector and the Church Wardens for allowing me to be able to hold my Shrieval Service this year at the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Buckingham, the church where I worship. We can all feel very proud of our county and I feel honoured and privileged in this one all-too-short year to be one of her ambassadors.
Amanda Nicholson is a Scot who has been a farm owner living in Buckinghamshire since 1970. She has been a Magistrate in the county since 1975.
Accepted by Natural England’s Entry Level Scheme her extensive arable farm is also home to an award winning dairy herd.
Having served on various committees, worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau and been a member of HM Prisons Grendon and Springhill’s Board of Visitors she is particularly interested in the education and resettlement of offenders and the further training of all those who may have failed to take full advantage of their education.
Initially trained as a Social Worker, Amanda worked in Aylesbury hospitals before devoting her time to the farm and her family.
She read English at Oxford University gaining an honours degree as a mature student. This was followed by a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at Middlesex University before tutoring courses in Barnet and at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education. She is a published novelist, free-lance magazine contributor and short story writer.
Rising sixty Amanda has been married to John Nicholson for 38 years; they have three adult children.
In less than 3 months I’ve had more than 3 year’s worth of unique experiences and learnt enough to keep my memory bank in the black till I drop. 70 outings and over 5 thousand miles may not be good for the planet but it has done a world of good to my vision of the future. I have met so many selfless, inspirational and dedicated people working hard to maintain the welfare of the nation, I have also discovered confident, enthusiastic and forthcoming youngsters everywhere - in schools (mainstream and for those with special needs) as well as in Guiding and Scouting organisations and the wonderful Cadet Force and St John Ambulance Brigade. I have attended civic services, prize givings, receptions and assisted at citizenship ceremonies and five royal visits, I was also lucky enough to be at the Bishop of Oxford’s splendid inauguration. I’ll never forget the exhilarating night patrol with armed police or the visits to the TA headquarters, an ingenious Safety Centre and the Fire Service where I watched a demonstration rescue. Thank you to all the generous people and my many new found friends who have made the first quarter of this amazing year such a joy; the sun even shone for my garden party!
Over half way through this amazing year and I’m still discovering more than I ever imagined about Buckinghamshire even though I’ve lived in it for most of my life. I was given an exciting tour of Milton Keynes which has grown from muddy fields to sophisticated city in my memory and was intrigued by the revolutionary and ecological architectural development combined with the vibrant enthusiasm of the multi-cultural population. I also was taken round several agencies that are dealing with homelessness and drug addiction as well as providing counselling and information. There is so much to do in Milton Keynes; even the list of voluntary opportunities is as thick and the telephone directory. I’ve discovered glorious countryside such as the Chilterns and Burnham Beeches and was entertained to lunch, but not to croquet, at Dorneywood. I’ve lost count of the worthwhile causes I’ve been lucky enough to visit though I am keeping my diary assiduously. I was particularly pleased to have been shown round the three major hospitals and to have visited the Campbell Centre in Milton Keynes to learn about modern treatment of mental illness. Being a farmer I was thrilled to welcome Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union to lecture on Why Farming Matters at Buckingham University. Everyone at St Laurence Church Winslow made an enormous effort to ensure that the High Sheriff’s Service was a great and memorable occasion. I was delighted that so many mayors and dignitaries managed to attend and also that I have been able to go the services of neighbouring High Sheriffs and discover that we are all very different, except that we are all overawed and full of admiration for the wonderful people we meet. Last week ended with the Queen visiting Pinewood Studio which, luckily for me, is just in Buckinghamshire. I had a marvellous time despite being asked, by some flag waving children, if I was the Queen’s Mummy!
High Sheriff's Service, St Laurence Winslow
14th October 2007
Peter Thorogood succeeds me on 10th April 2008 and will do a magnificent job. I wish him well and trust that he and Leonie will derive as much pleasure from his year as High Sheriff as I have done from mine
During the last months Buckinghamshire has had another visit from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and I have seen and done too many marvellous things to list here. My diary is longer than a novel and still swelling!
This year has been an amazing and humbling experience. I am ashamed to admit that I had very limited knowledge of the enterprise and philanthropy at work in this county before I took over from Alexander Boswell, whose exceptionally conscientious and generous performance was always going to be impossible to equal.
During this final month I will be presenting 16 certificates to volunteers nominated by a sample of the many organisations I have visited. This inadequate gesture does not do justice to the outstanding performance of many selfless people at quietly at work for nothing, and the common good, in Buckinghamshire.
The most worrying problem I have encountered is the lack of younger volunteers prepared to give up their precious free time to become youth and community leaders.
Many people throughout Britain are lacking the security of family cohesion and stable home structure, this applies to less privileged counties just as much as in Buckinghamshire, but the undaunted spirit and dedication of those who, despite their own busy lives, give time and energy to helping make difficult and blighted situations bearable, is beyond praise. We must all be exceptionally grateful.
Thank you to everyone for giving me a truly delightful and unforgettable year
The 2006/7 High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire was Alexander Boswell. He comes from North Crawley in the north east of the county, where his family have lived for generations. The first member of the family to settle in North Crawley was Thomas David Boswell, brother of the famous biographer of Dr Johnson in the 18th Century. Alexander has a wife, Jane, and two children.
Boswell is an arable farmer with a strong interest in the countryside and conservation. He is keen to combine modern farming techniques with care for the environment and countryside. In 1999 his work in this field was recognised when he received the Buckinghamshire Farming and Wildlife Challenge Cup. In 2003 the East of England Agricultural Society awarded him its Countryside Management Award.
He has other business interests including property management and foods. He is a Director of Stewkley-based Wiltshire Farm Foods, a frozen meals home delivery service. The business has developed close relationships with local hospitals, social services and carers, and has tailored its service to cater for the burgeoning needs of the elderly and infirm within the area. In 2005 Wiltshire Farm Foods was awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise.
Boswell doesn’t believe in asking others to do work which he wouldn’t do himself. He is committed to hands-on voluntary work. He has supported and been active within local charities and has served on a number of local committees. He is Chairman of his local Parish Council.
Asked what he hopes to achieve in his time as High Sheriff, Boswell replied ‘The first Sheriff of Buckinghamshire was Godric, who was appointed in 1042. Sadly he died leading his levies in the defence of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Sheriffs in those early days were responsible for collecting taxes. Luckily for modern sheriffs, the collection of tax is no longer one of their duties, but they do still have a role in the maintenance of law and order within the county. Over the years this venerable institution has adapted itself to the many changes in administration of our county and in society as a whole.’
‘As High Sheriff I will have a chance to work for the benefit of Buckinghamshire, to meet and thank many of the people who work for the good of our county. For instance three years ago I was seriously ill, and my life was saved by our local ambulance service and hospital. I want to tell the unsung heroes in our county that their work is appreciated and valuable to us all.’
‘I hope to develop a dialogue with Thames Valley Police, in order to tackle some of the causes of crime in our area, concentrating particularly on young offenders. I think it is important to give young people a sense of worth, a sense of belonging to their community, and a sense of objective.’
‘I intend to support a number of chosen charities across the county. 2006 is the Silver Jubilee of Willen Hospice, which plays such an important role within our local community, and we are working together on their fundraising campaign. I am also supporting the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Community Foundations, which do such good work distributing funds to the smaller charities within the area. And as a music-lover, I am planning a number of musical events which will highlight local music-making in our county, including a High Sheriffs Concert in Milton Keynes Theatre on 12th November.’
Top Judge Visits Grendon Prison
(L to R: Alexander Boswell, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire; Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips; Peter Bennett, Prison Governor)
Princess Royal visit 24 August 2006
Royal Visit Sir William Borlase's 4 December 2006
The High Sheriff's Concert, Milton Keynes Theatre, 12 November 2006: the High Sheriff received 380 guests at a Champagne Reception prior to the concert.
HIGH SHERIFF RECOGNISES UNSUNG HEROES
On Thursday 18th January at a special Ceremonial Council at RAF Halton, Aylesbury, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire presented special High Sheriff’s Awards to individuals nominated for his ‘Unsung Heroes’ scheme. The Unsung Heroes scheme seeks to identify those people who serve others and their local community without the desire for acclaim or favour.
The High Sheriff, Mr Alexander Boswell said: " It’s one of the great bonuses of being a High Sheriff that one encounters the most wonderful people whose work may not be high profile or even exciting, but who bring to their jobs the most incredible commitment and enthusiasm. I have to say that meeting these people has been an enlightening and spiritually uplifting experience.”
“We are bombarded by news stories about all the bad things going on in the world, things of overwhelming importance that none of us individually can have any hope of changing. These bad news stories seem to overwhelm all the good news that is around us and, of course, I include the Ceremony and all our Unsung Heroes as part of that good news. So I think we have something really special to celebrate and it has lifted my heart enormously to be part of it. The eight Unsung Heroes that I recognised at Halton were very deserving and in some cases quite breath taking in their dedication and length of service.”
Awards were presented to :-
1. Mary Walsh, Security Officer at Marks & Spencer, High Street, Aylesbury
2. Clint Woolcock, Security Guard at Morrisons, Station Way, Aylesbury.
3. Bill Reid of The Priory Centre, High Wycombe.
4. Mrs Sheila Eells of Milton Keynes Hospital
5. The Friends of Willen Hospice
6. Mary McKay from Amersham.
7. Glenys Newton of Wycombe Hospital
8. Mrs Eileen Bowen of Milton Keynes