Fri, 20 Nov 2015
HELPING children and families affected by crime is at the top of the list of priorities for next year’s new High Sheriff of Berkshire.
From April 2016, the position will be held by Victoria Fishburn, who has lived in Englefield for more than 40 years.
Mother-of-four Mrs Fishburn – who is also a grandmother of one with another grandchild on the way – said she intends to work closely within the justice system, but particularly with families and children affected by crime.
These could range from the families of people in prison and of criminals in rehabilitation, to the families of police under stress and the victims of crime.
She hopes to work with the Thames Valley Partnership, which aims to protect the victims of crime, while also supporting offenders and their families.
She will also support The Elizabeth Fry Charity, which runs approved premises for women in Reading, supporting the rehabilitation of up to 22 female offenders.
She said: “I would also very much like to learn about the work of the family courts.”
Mrs Fishburn has served for many years as chairwoman of Englefield Primary School and as a governor of Elstree School at Woolhampton and is patron of the John Simonds Trust, in Bradfield.
She is currently a director of the Greenham Common Trust, a charity that distributes £4m a year in West Berkshire and Hampshire.
She also sits on the advisory board to the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, where she received her undergraduate degree in history.
As High Sheriff, she will represent the county of Berkshire, from Slough and Windsor – where she may have to play a part in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations next year – to Newbury and Hungerford.
Mrs Fishburn’s husband, Dudley, will accompany her throughout the year.
He is currently chairman of Theale Green Academy and has served on the Council of Reading University.
One of the High Sheriff’s roles is to represent the Crown at ceremonies held throughout Berkshire when people assume British citizenship.
The High Sheriff receives no remuneration and no part of the expense of the appointment falls on the taxpayer.
The High Sheriff is a royal appointment to the justice system – the courts, the police, prisons and the probation service among others.
Although the role is now largely ceremonial, the position is the oldest public office in British public life.
Berkshire’s first High Sheriff was recorded more than 800 years ago.
Mrs Fishburn will be sworn in on April 5, 2016, at Reading Crown Court, before the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire. She will take over from the current High Sheriff, David Bertie of Binfield.