George Vestey hopes to ‘make a difference’ after being nominated as the next High Sheriff for Suffolk

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Having been officially nominated to become the next High Sheriff for Suffolk, George Vestey is now looking forward to ’being able to make a difference’ in his home county.

Having been officially nominated to become the next High Sheriff for Suffolk, George Vestey is now looking forward to ’being able to make a difference’ in his home county.

Mr Vestey is the CEO of the family-owned Vestey Foods and one of four brothers in charge of the Thurlow Estate near Haverhill.

He was officially nominated at a glittering ceremony at London’s High Court on Monday to replace the current High Sheriff, Geoffrey Probert, at the end of next March, after

four of the country’s most senior judges approved his nomination.

Mr Vestey said of his role, which is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown in Britain: “It’s obviously a great honour.

“The fact that it has lasted more than 1,000 years hopefully means it’s of some relevance to the community and it will continue to be so in this day and age.

“It’s a real opportunity in the role to get to know the voluntary sector and I’m sure I will be made very well aware of the fact that there are a million people doing great things in the county who are unheralded and don’t get the recognition and don’t get the thanks, and being able to shine a light on them is a great opportunity.

“It’s an opportunity to get to know the people who are working so hard in Haverhill and the other parts of the county and to try and encourage and recognise and assist those people as well.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity in one year to get to know the county better and the people of the county better and the issues facing those people.

“If I can help in any small way during this time, that’s part of what this is all about.”

However, before the sheriffs nominated on Monday take up office, an ancient ceremony must still take place on March 26 at the Privy Council in London.

There the Queen, using a silver bodkin in a practice dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria, will prick their names on a parchment list to give their appointments the Royal seal of approval.

In Saxon times, sheriffs – or Shire Reeves as they were originally known - of each county went to the Kings or Queens Court, known in Latin as the Curia Regis, to give account for the money they collected on behalf of the monarch.

Now, High Sheriffs no longer collect money for the monarch. But their role which is unpaid still makes them rank among top dignitaries in their areas. Among other things they are expected to attend at royal visits to their counties, as well as being entitled to act as returning officers in parliamentary elections.

They also have a responsibility for the well-being and protection of High Court Judges who go out on circuit to Crown Courts.