Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

New High Sheriff of Bedfordshire

Monday, 27 March 2023

The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for 2023/2024 was installed on Friday 24 March 2023. Russell Beard, who succeeded Lady Clifford, was sworn in at a ceremony held at Bedford Modern School.

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 fundraising 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.