Arts chief will be next High Sheriff

A LEADING figure in the arts in Rutland has been nominated as the county’s new High Sheriff.

Peter Lawson, a retired former vice-president of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company, will be officially appointed in March.

Mr Lawson now lives at The Green, Lyddington, and is chairman of Arts for Rutland, Music In Lyddington and Rutland Open Studios, as well as being a trustee of Oakham School.

His wife Anne is chairman of WaterAid Rutland and the couple have four children.

Mr Lawson, pictured right, said this week that he was looking forward to the appointment with great excitement.

“It’s a great honour to be asked to take on this role. Rutland is a highly active county in many ways - a lot of people contribute to society as volunteers and I see it as the role of the High Sheriff to make sure that those who do give a lot are properly recognised and encouraged.”

He will also be supporting Crimebeat, a scheme which educates children about safety. It takes children in their final year of primary school to The Warning Zone building in Leicester for a day to learn about crime, health and safety.

Mr Lawson attended the nomination ceremony at London’s High Court last week - a ceremony that has been taking place since before the Norman Conquest.

High Sheriff is one of the oldest continuous secular offices under the Crown in Britain. Judges and court officials presided over the formal nomination of 51 High Sheriffs and their deputies from all over England and Wales.

Sheriffs were originally sent from each county to the King’s or Queen’s court to account for money collected on behalf of the monarch.

Today, although the role is unpaid, High Sheriffs still rank among the top dignitaries in their areas. They attend royal visits and can act as returning officers in elections.

The Queen will give the Royal seal of approval at a ceremony in March at the Privy Council and an inauguration ceremony will take place at Oakham Castle on April 8.