Welcoming Wiltshire's new High Sheriff

We are delighted to welcome the new High Sheriff of Wiltshire Pradeep Bhardwaj as he begins his shrieval year, during which he is adopting the theme of ‘inclusion’.

At the same time our Joint Chief Executive Fiona Oliver has sent her thanks to outgoing High Sheriff Lady Lansdowne for her support and hard work over the last 12 months.

Her year had the theme of ‘home’ and as part of her 12 months of visits and fundraising she worked with Wiltshire Community Foundation to organise a reception in aid of six charities at her own home, Bowood House. The event had to be cancelled out of respect for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after her death in September but many of the people who had been invited chose to make a donation anyway.

“Because of the support for Lady Lansdowne’s High Sheriff Fund we were able to make donations of £3,500 to The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, The Amber Foundation, Doorway, The Harbour Project, Swindon Women’s Aid and Fearless Services,” says Fiona.

“The donations were a timely boost for small charities whose work echoes Lady Lansdowne’s theme just when they are all seeing their costs go up as well as the demand for their services.”

“At a civic reception in Salisbury’s Guild Hall earlier this month, Lady Lansdowne talked about her learning over the year and her plans to advocate on behalf of women and girls who are impacted by violence and sexual violence.”

Commenting on his new role Pradeep Bhardwaj said: “It’s a feeling of immense gratitude and very humbling to say the least,” he says. “It gives you time to reflect on the good things and be thankful you have this opportunity to bring about a positive change.”

He will use his shrieval year to highlight the work being done in ethnic communities all over the county. He says: “We have a lot of communities who are doing some wonderful things and I hope I can be a bridge between the communities so they are working together rather than in isolation – and also more broadly, a bridge between the public, private and third sector.”

Although he has carved out an impressive career in telecommunications while working all over the world, he is most proud of helping to found Wiltshire’s first Hindu temple in Swindon. When it had to be closed after a series of break-ins he worked tirelessly to find it a new home at Regent House in the town.

“Our perseverance prevailed and through our sheer determination and doggedness we have managed to create this equally welcoming place,” he says. “People are very enthused now and it has brought a lot of new people into the fold, so we have to look at the positives.”

Back to news