Vet to saddle up as Lancashire’s next High Sheriff

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A Preston vet is to become the next High Sheriff of Lancashire.

Dr Barry Johnson has been announced as the next person to take the prestigious role, which stretches back to the middle of the 10th century.

The office is held for a year and the role is an important part of Lancashire’s ancient heritage.

Preston-born Barry, who will be the first vet to take on the role, was confirmed as the High Sheriff-elect in a special appointment ceremony carried out by HM The Queen.

He will be officially sworn in on Friday, April 11 during a ceremony at County Hall.

He will take over this office from the outgoing High Sheriff Ann Dean DL.

The father-of-six said: “My wife Carolyn and I are very proud to come from a long line of Lancastrians.

“I view it as an enormous privilege and honour to be chosen for this ancient and 
traditional role.

“During my year in office I hope to focus on areas in Lancashire that have particular problems with deprivation to raise awareness about critical problems affecting children in these communities.

“I also want to bring together and help build partnerships for victims and offenders - thereby acting as a catalyst for action and change.”

The role of High Sheriff is to ‘protect and assist in upholding the dignity and well being of Her Majesty’s Judges and to represent The Queen’s executive powers in respect of the administration of justice in the county’.

In 1973, Barry started his own veterinary practice in the garage of his parents’ house in Myerscough, which grew to become one of the largest 
veterinary practices in the North West.

It was renamed Oakhill 
Veterinary Centre when it moved to Langley Lane, 
Goosnargh, in 1995.

He specialised in farm 
animals and horses and was appointed as the vet to Lancashire Constabulary’s mounted section. The practice has other small animal surgeries in Preston and has continued to develop since his retirement in 2007.

Barry has been a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Council since 1985 and was elected as its president from 1993 to 1994, which was the 150th anniversary of the granting of the charter.

A graduate of Liverpool University, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by his university in 1994.

The High Sheriff-elect is currently chairman of the international equine charity World Horse Welfare, which operates the largest rescue and rehoming programme of its kind in the UK.

A resident of Bilsborrow for 50 years and a churchwarden at St Hilda’s church, he was a founding member and previous president of Preston Amounderness Rotary Club and was made a Paul Harris Fellow for his charitable contribution.

He and his wife Carolyn, a practising barrister, have six sons and seven grandchildren - with two more expected during his year of office.