The new High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Eric Masih, was sworn in today (Wednesday) at a virtual ceremony and described his appointment as ‘an honour.’
The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment, held for a year. Eric Masih, who succeeded Susan Lousada DL, was sworn in at a virtual ceremony in the presence of Mr Simon Smith JP.
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 has evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today.
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.
Due to COVID19, the installation could not take place in the traditional way and the private ceremony was held via video link.
Eric was born in Punjab, India and was brought to the UK by his parents in 1967 where he was educated locally.
He has continued to live in Bedford with his wife, four sons and four grandchildren and is a well-respected and well-known face within Bedfordshire.
Eric set up Gold Crown Estate Agents in 1996, committed to providing affordable and social housing in Bedfordshire.
Within the local community, Eric holds roles with several charities and organisations including the Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) for which he is a trustee, founding member of the Bedfordshire Asian Business Association (BABA) and Queens Park Academy School where he is a governor.
In 2013, Eric was appointed as the Chairman of Queens Park Community Organisation (QPCO), an organisation committed to building bridges between Bedford’s diverse communities.
Eric plays an active role in community cohesion and by the hosting of numerous fundraising events, fayres, and activities he has very quickly gained full support of local businesses, residents and the local Community Policing teams.
His dedication has always been intent on casting a light onto the melting pot of Bedfordshire’s varied and diverse communities.
“I am honoured to have been nominated as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for the forthcoming year,” said Eric. “Despite the joint efforts to keep communities going, there is yet much work to do.
“The unforeseen effects of the Covid19 pandemic over the past year have brought to the surface the financial, social and emotional hardships faced by many throughout the Borough.
“I passionately believe that it is through Community Cohesion, and in particular through the work of local voluntary groups, that we can start to move towards a recovery phase.”