The High Sheriff 2023-2024, Russell Beard

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.

Sport has always been a passion. 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.

Many will recognise Russell as an Auctioneer who has conducted hundreds of local charity fund raising auctions which have also included London Fashion Week, Love Luton Awards Event and some prestigious Lord’s Taverners Dinners.

As Chair of the Gale Family Trust, he presides over a fund that distributes around £400,000 a year to Bedfordshire based groups and charities – a background that should serve him well as High Sheriff.

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.

The Shrieval year will be geared towards fund raising projects for his four designated charities. These are Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends, Bedfordshire Crimebeat, Blues Foundation and Lord’s Taverners.

His love of all things Bedfordshire will undoubtedly help to promote and support the many organisations across the county through the office of the High Sheriff.

Bedfordshire High Sheriff

Our Partnership with the High Sheriff

BLCF and the High Sheriff have worked together for several years developing initiatives, promoting each other’s priority areas of interest and work. The partnership works to support charities and groups from across Bedfordshire by sign posting them to support and opportunities for funding and aims to identify and celebrate the achievements of those groups and charities in transforming the lives of those most in need. BLCF and the High Sheriff also support each other in the promotion of campaigns and shared programmes through their marketing channels as well as provision on data and information relating to the ever-changing needs of the county’s communities.


Working Together

Over the last 12 months we have worked alongside the Luton Learning Link, a group made up of the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Luton’s Council’s of Mosques, Luton Education Service and Level Trust to help put an end to digital poverty across the County. Through our grants and funding and that of Crimebeat and Lady Fatemah Trust, 313 digital devices were given out in Luton as of November 2020. Read the full article here:


The High Sheriff Awards

The High Sheriff Awards recognise the achievements of those doing good things in the community. There are 3 main categories for Adults, Young People and Group winners (organisations). These awards are spilt across the 3 administrative areas of the county: North Bedfordshire, Central Bedfordshire, and South Bedfordshire, including Luton. The awards format may change however, determined by the incumbent High Sheriff’s wishes. For more information about the awards and how to nominate please email [email protected]

Bedfordshire High Sheriff

Bedfordshire Crimebeat

For more than 1,000 years, High Sheriffs have had responsibility for upholding law and order and today still work closely with the police, the judiciary, local authorities, education, and other agencies. In part, this is done through the network of local Crimebeat schemes which High Sheriffs have set up in their counties.

Bedfordshire Crimebeat is a charity that supports young people to enable them to undertake projects which serve their community. Since its inception, the charity has enabled the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire to play an active role in the prevention and reduction of juvenile crime.

If you are interested in applying to Crimebeat or would like to find out more, please contact the team at BLCF via [email protected]

Previous High Sheriffs

2022/2023 High Sheriff – Lady Jane Clifford
2021/2022 High Sheriff – Eric Masih
2020/2021 High Sheriff – Susan Lousada DL
2019/2020 High Sheriff – Meryl Dolling
2018/2019 High Sheriff –Julian Polhill
2017/2018 High Sheriff – Vinod Tailor MBE, Luton
2016/2017 High Sheriff – Charles Whitbread Esq, Bedford
2015/2016 High Sheriff – The Countess of Erroll, Bedford
2014/2015 High Sheriff – C Osborne Esq MBE, Sandy, Bedfordshire
2013/2014 High Sheriff – Mrs Deborah Inskip, Milton Ernest, Bedford
2012/2013 High Sheriff – J Sapsworth Esq MBE, Luton
2011/2012 High Sheriff – A M Slack Esq, Oakley
2010/2011 High Sheriff – D T C Hanbury Esq DL, Turvey
2009/2010 High Sheriff – Mrs C M Gresham, Dunstable
2008/2009 High Sheriff – N Jessa Esq, Luton