Wiltshire’s new High Sheriff has been sworn in this month in a ceremony which dates back to Saxon times.
Lady Gooch undertook her declaration and acceptance at Salisbury Cathedral, taking over from Mr Peter Addington. She will be responsible for a number of ceremonial duties during her year of office.
Lady Gooch is married to a former soldier and spent many years following the drum, in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany and Iran before settling in Chitterne. She has two daughters. Her granddaughter is working during her gap year and hopes to travel before taking up her university place. Her grandson will sit his GCSE exams this year.
Lady Gooch said, “I am honoured and privileged to be the High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 2015, and look forward to learning more about the county which has been our home for 28 years. I have been enormously fortunate and have had an interesting life. I have been able to serve the community as a magistrate for many years before retirement and made many friends and met interesting and dedicated people during my years on the bench. While High Sheriff I hope that I can promote opportunities for the young by supporting the Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation as well as One Degree More, a charity which helps to fund further education and apprenticeships. I am delighted that the first group of Police Cadets was formed in Swindon last year, and further groups are planned for the rest of the county. I hope to appoint a High Sheriff’s Police Cadet this summer.
“There are many people for whom life is a struggle and by supporting Splash, Youth Action Wiltshire and two Swindon based charities, Hop, Skip and Jump and DASH (Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness) I hope I can help in some way.”
The High Sheriff is the Sovereign’s representative in the county for matters of law and order and the judiciary. It is the oldest secular office in England and Wales after the Crown and modern High Sheriffs still have a close relationship with judges, magistrates, the police, the coroner and the probation service.
Their traditional duties include:
Attendance on any member of the Royal Family visiting the county
Being prepared to be the returning officer at parliamentary elections
Ensuring the well-being and protection of High Court Judges when they visit the county
Presenting court awards