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.
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.