The new High Sheriff of Suffolk, Mark Pendlington, was ‘sworn-in’ at a ceremony at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday 30th March at 12 noon.
Mark Pendlington lives with his partner Richard, in Acton near Sudbury.
“I am excited about my year but there is much to do, and I want the Office of High Sheriff to play its part in making Suffolk an even better place. The role goes back to the 11th century and is the oldest secular office apart from the Monarchy in our history. It does have real relevance and purpose today in modern-day Suffolk and I am very excited in showing people how that is and how it can happen.”
Mark’s main priority during his year in office will be to promote Suffolk, support those working in the courts, law and order and victims of crime, foster opportunities for young people, and encourage volunteering.
“We have King Charles’s Big Help Out as part of his Coronation celebrations in May, a brilliant and inspired initiative, where the King encourages everybody to give time to volunteering. I think that’s an excellent theme that we can adopt here in Suffolk. Thousands of organisations, and tens of thousands of people, couldn’t be working harder for all sorts of good causes and essential activities around the county. Let’s celebrate that volunteering but also encourage others to step up and volunteer. I also want to support Suffolk’s young people, but the most important thing is to do them the courtesy of asking them what they want rather than telling them what is good for them., and that is what I intend to do.”
Mark won’t be holding a large garden party or reception to mark the start of his year in office.
“My plan is to have a series of smaller events including a programme of informal monthly working lunches where, over lasagne or shepherd’s pie, we gather together Suffolk’s senior influential people, those who can make a difference, and work out how can we work better together.”
Mark worked in London for 25 years, mainly in management consultancy and was at one time the Chief Executive of the Country Landowners and Business Association, campaigning on behalf of people who live and work in the country.
“My last job before retirement was with Anglian Water. They wanted somebody to relate the company to external priorities as, without a water company, sustainable development is a very difficult thing. I rebranded Anglian Water, and that is where the slogan ‘Love Every Drop’ came from. I also said that to help everyone understand the importance of water and the water structure, we should call our reservoirs ‘water parks’…as they are everyone’s big back garden”.
Mark loves Suffolk and the Suffolk coast, but admits he is not a person for hobbies.
He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk and devotes his time to helping and promoting organisations in Suffolk and the east of England that support charitable and voluntary service, enterprise, opportunities for young people, better skills, thriving diverse communities and a flourishing environment. This includes as Chair and Pro-Chancellor, University of Suffolk; Patron of the Green Light Trust; Non-Executive Chair of CEFAS, based in Lowestoft; Chair of Governors at The Royal Hospital School; and a Trustee of the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Trust.
Mark was Chair of the ‘Festival of Suffolk 2022’ and chairs the Suffolk Lieutenancy Business and Enterprise Group that actively promotes The King’s Awards for Enterprise.
“My life is my hobby really. I like unpredictability and I am lucky enough to be involved in so many organisations and know lots of interesting people. There is always something interesting to do and I’m privileged to do them.”
[Image supplied – Mark Pendlington, High Sheriff of Suffolk 2023-24]
The High Sheriff of Suffolk is an independent non-political Royal appointment dating back to Saxon times when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the crown. Whilst the role has evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. High Sheriff’s receive no remuneration or expenses, and a new High Sheriff is appointed every year.