I am honoured to assume the role of High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight for 2018/19, following my Declaration Ceremony at Northwood House on 9th April.   A role like this is never about one person and my thanks go to the many people who have provided help and guidance so far – and for the help I will receive as my year progresses.  I should especially like to thank my predecessor, Ben Rouse, who has completed a very successful year and I hope to build on his success in raising the stature of the Shrievalty with such grace and commitment.  I should also like to pay  tribute to all my predecessors in Office, who have given so much to the community of the Isle of Wight.  The spirit of community is our strength:  it underpins the very fabric of the Island, so that we have come to rely on the many, many Islanders who give of their time freely to help others.    One of the great privileges of being High Sheriff is getting to know so many of you and I hope to have the opportunity of visiting as many local groups, associations and institutions as I possibly can during my brief year of office.  In particular, I am looking forward to this year’s Isle of Wight Day, founded by Robin Courage (High Sheriff 2016/2017), and  growing from strength to strength.  It’s a real celebration of all that is best about our Island and, in bringing us together, it reminds us that we are part of a truly wonderful community.   Strength comes from togetherness.

My Objectives

The role of High Sheriff is essentially the sharp end of a conduit to helping people and the High Sheriffs’ Trust, its main vehicle for charity fundraising, is arguably more important today than ever.   I shall continue the good work of raising the Trust’s profile as much as possible so that more people, and businesses, might be encouraged to donate and  – importantly – so that charities and community groups know the facility is there.   But it’s not all about fundraising and giving: if you’re going to make a difference in society it involves education.    As a former teacher and a mother, I want to reach out to schools in particular.  Our future lies with our young people, and they and their teachers need our encouragement and support on their journey to becoming mature and valuable members of our community.

A bit about me

I was born and brought up on the Island, one of five children.    When I was very young, my parents had a café /guest-house business in Ryde High Street, and my father made ice cream in a tiny factory behind it.   My brother, Anthony, and I shared a bedroom above the kitchen, which was busy from breakfast until late at night, and where my grandmother, Louisa, ruled the roost.   Our bedroom was behind the Commodore cinema and Anthony and I went to sleep listening to the soundtracks of the various films being shown there – everything from The Sound of Music to The Guns of Navarone.   We used to invent our own stories to go with the soundtracks – probably excellent preparation for the little boy who grew up to be a world-famous, Oscar-winning film director!   I followed a more conventional career path, becoming an English teacher after university.  Probably my favourite teaching job was as Head of Sixth Form at what was then Medina High School.  It was an honour to help so many young people on their way to the next stages in their careers and I am always delighted to have news of their extraordinary successes.   After more than 25 years in the classroom, I switched career path completely and went into the family ice cream business, which I also enjoyed enormously.   People are always happy when they eat ice cream – as my wonderful father always said – and he is right!   Now I’ve stepped down from running the business so that this year, I can concentrate on my duties as High Sheriff.  I hope to meet as many of you as I can and I’ll do my best to update this website, along with Facebook and Twitter, so that you can keep track of my activities.   I’ll be attending many events so please come and say hello if you see me!  I look forward to meeting you.