The Declaration of Office for Dame Ann Limb DBE DL as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2023-4 took place at 14.30 on Friday 31st March 2023 in the Berrill Lecture Theatre of the Open University, in the City of Milton Keynes. Mrs Serene Taylor was also declared as Under Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2023-4.

His Honour Judge Patrick Peruško, Designated Family Judge for Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire presided over the occasion and Mr Neil Arnold JP, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Magistrates received and counter-signed the declarations from both Dame Ann Limb DBE DL and Mrs Serene Taylor.

The Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Countess Howe explained the importance of the role of High Sheriff shining a light on the work of the Buckinghamshire Judiciary, Police Force, Prison and Probation services and the emergency services. She warmly welcomed Dame Ann into the office and praised the work of her predecessor Debbie Brock DL in the 2022-3 year of office.

Dame Ann presented her approach to her 2023-4 year that is underpinned by the phrase “honouring history: encouraging evolution”

Dame Ann said,” This reflects, I hope, something of a pivotal point at which the shrievalty finds itself in 2023. I am honoured to be part of that history – as the 779th High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and to be making history as the first Quaker to hold the office. I hope to encourage evolution of the office so that it changes to resonate with today’s generations and reflects issues that challenge contemporary society – whether that’s the economic, mental health and climate crisis, food and fuel poverty, or how to respond to the concerns of the BLM, #metoo, trans movements.”

Dame Ann continued by commenting on her plans to prioritise activities, interventions, and visits to charities and organisations that work in and around the fields of Domestic Abuse and prevention and elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) . She spoke of her passion for building sustainable and affordable communities which derive from her role as Deputy Chair of the Prince’s Foundation. She wants her year to be hallmarked by the slogan ‘zero carbon zero cost, and she plans to travel by foot, bicycle or in her EV throughout the year. She will uphold the values of her Quaker faith by embracing their core values, including simplicity in language, conduct and dress, integrity and truth in public life, community engagement and sustainability of place, people and planet.

She paid tribute to her life partner Maggie Cook, born and bred in Buckinghamshire, who has been her strength and stay for the best part of thirty-five years. She spoke of her guiding hand and her wise counsel forming part of a wider ‘chorus of angels’ to give her support, advice and guidance over the next twelve months. This group includes a new innovation for 2023-4 of eight voluntary Goodwill Ambassadors, drawn from across the county and cross faith to extend an energy for learning and promotion of the High Sheriff’s work.

The Open University were delighted to host the Declaration and Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation said, “The Open University is honoured to host the Declaration of the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2023-4 at their Milton Keynes campus. Dame Ann Limb has championed so many causes that sit alongside the OU’s social mission from widening access to education, the environment and tackling violence against women and girls. We look forward to working with Dame Ann throughout her term and supporting her in continuing to champion the causes that she has chosen across Buckinghamshire and beyond.”

Picture caption; Dame Ann Limb DBE DL High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2023-4 – picture credit Anne Toole Photography

For further information please contact Marian Livingstone Event Director for the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2023-4


Notes to Editors

Dame Ann Limb DBE DL biography

Dame Ann Limb is Chair of the City and Guilds of London Institute and from 2015-2021 was Chair of the Scouts, the UK’s largest youth engagement charity. She is the first woman, and openly gay, to hold these roles. She is also Chair of the UK Innovation Corridor, the country’s globally significant life sciences cluster stretching from London to Cambridge and Chair of The Lloyds Bank Foundation. Between 1976 and 2001 Ann enjoyed a successful career in Further Education as a College Principal in Milton Keynes and Cambridge and in the civil service, where she was responsible for the UK governments flagship digital learning initiative, learndirect. Dame Ann is Deputy Char of the Prince’s Foundation, a heritage-led regeneration charity. And Vice President of the social justice charity she founded in 1998, the Helena Kennedy Foundation. In the 2011 Birthday Honours, Ann was awarded the OBE, in 2015 ‘upgraded’ to CBE and in the Platinum Jubilee Honours 2022 elevated to the rank of Dame Commander of the British Empire, DBE. In 2019, Dame Ann was named #1 LBGTQ+ public sector role model in the OUTstanding List and one of the most 50 most influential women born in the North of England in the Northern Power Women Power List.

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2.3 million students worldwide and currently has over 208,000 students. Seventy-one per cent of directly registered students are in full-time or part-time employment, and 76 FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research ( Research Excellence Framework,2021) over three quarters (76%) of OU research was assessed as 4 0r 3 star – the highest ratings available, awarded to research that is world -leading or internationally excellent. The OU’s commitment to research and societal impact is recognised too with 82% of its research impact assessed to be world leading or internationally excellent. For further information please visit The Open University

Written by : High Sheriff

High Sheriffs Association

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