Chartered accountant Mark Spofforth has been appointed as new High Sheriff of West Sussex for 2016.
The declaration ceremony took place at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday when Mark was formally declared into his position.
The Office of High Sheriff has been active for over 1,000 years and is the oldest royal appointment.
Although still rich with tradition, the modern High Sheriff has a very different role to its ancient predecessors, the Shire Reeves, playing an important role in 21st century society.
During the year in office, the High Sheriff is tasked with supporting the Queen and other royals with visits to the county and ensuring welfare by supporting the county judiciary, law enforcement agencies, emergency services, church and faith groups and other local authorities. They are also tasked with encouraging the voluntary sector within the county by offering support to voluntary organisations.
Mark Spofforth, OBE, a partner in the accountancy firm Spofforths, said: “I am very excited about this responsibility. I have 12 months to use whatever influence the role bestows, to help the residents and organisations of West Sussex.
“I look forward to assisting with citizenship ceremonies to greet newcomers to our county, and I want to single out the members of the police and fire service who go a step beyond what any reasonable member of the public expects.”
Mark is involved with a number of charitable organisations working with Lord Hodgson on a Government review of the Charities Act in March 2012.
On the publication of the report, Mark made several presentations on the regulatory framework and expected changes from the review, which made over 100 recommendations. Mark continues his charity work and is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Thalidomide Trust.
He added: “I’m no expert at fundraising, but I do know that there are opportunities to raise the profile of charities during this year and I have chosen two – the Chestnut Tree Hospice and Winston’s Wish, both focused on children and the impact that cancer can have on their lives.”
Mark takes of the role of High Sheriff of West Sussex from Denise Patterson.
She said: “It has been a very busy year. It does take over your life but I have had the opportunity to go all over Sussex which has been fantastic.”