Bedfordshire Lieutenancy: New High Sheriff of Bedfordshire 2022-2023 is sworn in

  • Lady Jane Clifford,  the new High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for 2022/2023, was installed at Elstow Abbey on Sunday 3 April 2022. succeeds Eric Masih.




Lady Clifford was born in Tanzania where her father, Sir George Paterson, was Attorney General.  She was brought up in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Zambia as her family moved around with her father’s work, latterly as Chief Justice. One of her earliest memories was accompanying her parents to the Assizes in a huge dugout canoe crossing the Zambezi River as there were no roads or bridges. In Ghana, Sir George worked with Kwame Nkrumah to ensure the smooth transition to independence. Jane finished her education in Dorset before moving to London to read Art History at the Courtauld Institute, London University. It was during this time that she met her future husband, Timothy.

Jane started out as a lecturer for the Workers’ Educational Association in Manchester before becoming the art critic of the Daily Telegraph. At the same time, she began closely assisting Laura Ashley, finding and copying antique wallpaper and textile designs and writing books about furnishing and decorating houses for the company. After Laura’s tragic death, Jane moved to Zoffany, another wallpaper and fabric manufacturer.

While her husband was directing the Manchester City Art Galleries, Jane set up and ran the events for the Friends. When Timothy moved to direct the National Galleries of Scotland, Jane performed a similar role for the Patrons. Supporting her husband’s role took up a lot of her time and her career was put on hold. Timothy was knighted by Her Majesty in 2002.

After their retirement in 2010, the Cliffords moved to Bedfordshire to be nearer London and their only daughter and grandson.

Jane has helped various charities to organise large scale events, including Help the Aged, Save the Children and the NSPCC. She is a keen bridge player and founded a book club which is still going strong after 30 years. They own a small house in Umbria in Italy; Jane speaks Italian and is a great Italophile.

Jane feels very honoured to have been nominated as High Sheriff for Bedfordshire for 2022-23 and will endeavour to serve the county to the best of her ability.

Initiatives and Objectives for 2022-2023

Jane is particularly excited to be holding office the year of HM The Queens’s Platinum Jubilee and is keen to support the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’. In the wake of the pandemic, the special importance of green spaces has become evident to help combat isolation, promote mental health and physical wellbeing and, by improving the surroundings in deprived areas, to prevent crime. With this in mind, Jane is keen to support charities that promote sport for all ages, rehabilitation and prevention of homelessness. In the last few months, the world has changed and we must now face the new and unexpected challenges presented by the crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.

Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years, High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. The High Sheriffs´ Association adopted National Crimebeat in recent years in response to specific areas of need.

High Sheriffs receive no remuneration and no part of the expense of a High Sheriff’s year falls on the public purse.

Follow the High Sheriff via https://highsheriffofbedfordshire.org , or on Twitter.