Marking half a century of serving the Island

Published: 10 June 2024

Mrs Susis Sheldon and Graham Biss

For half a century the historic offices of Lord-Lieutenant and High Sheriff have served the Island.

Following local government reforms, 1974 saw the late Queen appoint the Island's own Lord-Lieutenant and High Sheriff, with former Governor Lord Mountbatten and Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Kindersley appointed to the roles, respectively.

Both positions are voluntary, generally promoting and encouraging voluntary and charitable organisations, taking an interest in the business, urban, rural and social life of the county.

Susie Sheldon has fulfilled the role of Lord-Lieutenant since 2019 while Graham Biss was sworn in as High Sheriff in April 2024.

Mrs Sheldon, who is the sixth incumbent of the position, said: "It is a great honour to be His Majesty the King's representative on the Isle of Wight.

"Like the rest of the UK the Island has changed greatly in the last 50 years but the role of HM Lord-Lieutenant remains very much the same.

"It is to provide a constant, non-political presence, to represent His Majesty the King at events and presentations, to support local groups and organisations, and above all to recognise the contribution made by selfless and dedicated individuals to our community."

In addition to its role of supporting the community, the Lieutenancy is responsible for arranging Royal visits, advising on nominations for honours, undertaking civic duties, liaising with local units of the uniformed services, leading the local magistracy and other representative responsibilities.

Mr Biss added: "The Island has so much to be proud of, and like all High Sheriffs before me, I will strive to support the community to work together to overcome the challenges faced, as well as take time to celebrate the successes that have been achieved."

High Sheriffs are the oldest Royal appointment, going back to before the Norman Conquest, with the role supporting the Judiciary, the police and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, and church and faith groups, and working to crime reduction and social cohesion.

This year has already seen Royal visits to community groups on the Island, Kings Awards for Enterprise and Voluntary Service being announced, with other events being planned for later in the year.