Local estate agent, auctioneer and charity fundraiser installed as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire

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Russell Beard will be High Sheriff of Bedfordshire 2023/24. Image: The office of the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.
Russell Beard will be High Sheriff of Bedfordshire 2023/24. Image: The office of the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.

Russell Beard has been installed as The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for 2023/2024, being sworn in at a ceremony at Bedford Modern School this afternoon (Friday), succeeding Lady Clifford.

Bedfordian Russell is well-known to many across Bedford and the wider Bedfordshire area thanks to his hundreds of local charity fundraising auctions which have raised significant amounts of money from local and national charities.

These auctions have been held at events such as London Fashion Week, Love Luton Awards and some prestigious Lord’s Taverners Dinners.

As Chair of the Gale Family Trust, he also presides over a fund that distributes around £400,000 a year to Bedfordshire-based groups and charities.

As High Sheriff, Russell says this fundraising focus will continue.

His Shrieval year is geared toward fundraising projects for his four designated charities, Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends, Bedfordshire Crimebeat, The Blues Foundation and Lord’s Taverners.

Russell was born in the heart of Bedford and has lived and worked for the entirety of his life within a three-mile radius of the county town.

After attending Polam School as a youngster he joined Bedford Modern School where he was one of the few to be educated at both the old and new schools.

He later served the school as a member of the Old Bedford Modernians Club Committee for 25 years, becoming its President in 2013 and was also a Governor of the school.

At 16 years of age, Russell joined local auctioneers, Peacocks, as a trainee and could be seen on the rostrum every Saturday selling eggs and bicycles.

The opportunity arose in 1983 to transfer over to the firm’s estate agency division and this was a key move in his business life.

Within three years he had set up his own Estate Agency and the business continues to this day with wide-ranging interests in many aspects of residential property.

Russell Beard High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in full uniform
Russell Beard High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in full uniform

Sport has also always been a passion of Russell’s.

He represented Bedfordshire at Table-Tennis at both Junior and Senior levels. The highlight achievement was coming second in the England schools team event in 1980.

As a cricketer, he played for Bedford Modern School 1st X1 as well as Bedford Town and the MCC. Bedfordshire County Cricket Club recognised his long service to the club by electing him President in 2017.

Russell is a family man, married to Clare and with son Harry and daughter Charlotte they have lived in Bromham for over 20 years.

Socially, he is never happier than having a day out at his beloved Lords, holding court in the dining room of The Lansdowne Club or offering support at the Bedford Blues Rugby.