The new High Sheriff of Gloucestershire has been confirmed as The Countess Bathurst of Cirencester.
In an ancient ceremony held at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday the 15th of March, Her Majesty The Queen took part in the traditional ‘hand pricking’ with a silver bodkin, said to have once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I, to pick out the names of the new High Sheriffs for the counties of England.
The prick means for the first time ever six women will hold some of the county’s most senior positions, with a female Bishop, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek; Dame Janet Trotter, who became the Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in 2010; Lady Bathurst as High Sheriff; Suzette Davenport as the Chief Constable, and lady governors overseeing both Leyhill Prison and Eastwood Park Prison.
Countess Bathurst officially takes over the role from current High Sheriff, Dr Roger Head OBE on April 17th at a colourful ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral, attended by approximately 800 guests and members of public. These will include the county’s sitting judges, circuit judges, High Court judges, as well as representatives of the judiciary, emergency services, councils and community leaders.
“I am hugely honoured to be taking on such an important role,” said the Countess. “The Bathurst family have always been part of the county’s community and have held this vital office in the past. Sir Robert Bathurst of Lechlade was High Sheriff in 1611 and more recently William Bathurst, the brother of the seventh Earl, held the position in 1952.”
The office of High Sheriff of Gloucestershire is an independent, non-political royal appointment that according to records dates back to 956 in the time of King Edgar. Formally the principle law enforcement officer in the county, many of the duties have transferred elsewhere, or are now defunct, but Lady Bathurst plans to spend her shrieval year doing as much as she can for the county of Gloucestershire.
“The High Sheriff has the unique position of not only being able to visit charities and groups to appreciate what they achieve, and to thank those who give so much and are largely overlooked, but also to help in a constructive way by raising awareness and, in some cases, funds to distribute through a High Sheriff’s Grant that concentrates on improving projects and initiatives that protect safety in the community and help guide those who may need it, away from crime,” Countess Bathurst added.  

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