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Farmer hopes to follow family links

PUBLISHED: 19:18 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK farmer will be following in the footsteps of his forefathers if he is unveiled as one of the county's top dignitaries next year.

Robert Rous, was nominated for the role of High Sheriff of Suffolk during a glittering ceremony at London's High Court.

A SUFFOLK farmer will be following in the footsteps of his forefathers if he is unveiled as one of the county's top dignitaries next year.

Robert Rous, was nominated for the role of High Sheriff of Suffolk during a glittering ceremony at London's High Court. He should now be appointed to the position in April, subject to a Royal seal of approval from the Queen.

The 48-year-old would become the fifth member of the Suffolk farming family to become High Sheriff, dating back to Thomas Rous in 1690.

"It is one of the most ancient offices after the Crown," he said. "It is a non-political role, which I like, and allows one to be of service to the county. It's an opportunity to encourage people and thank those unsung heroes for their work, and also to put people in touch with each other."

Mr Rous was born and raised in Dennington near Framlingham. He left the area to become a land agent in Leicestershire but returned to Suffolk in 1979 to help his father run the dairy and arable farm at Dennington Hall. He is married to Teresa and has two children, Laura, 19, and Peter, 17.

Mr Rous is a former district councillor, is still chairman of Dennington Parish Council and is also on the board of Framlingham Farmers. He said he was "honoured" to have been officially nominated for the role and providing the monarch endorses the move is looking forward to starting his duties and getting involved with various initiatives.

The High Sheriff should be ready to attend the needs of judges when they are in the county and are also entitled to act as returning officers in Parliamentary elections. David Barclay, of Higham, near Bury St Edmunds, currently holds the position.

"There is some trepidation but everybody has been assuring me that you learn an awful lot about the county, which I am very proud to be involved with," said Mr Rous, who still lives at Dennington Hall.

"It is nice to do one's bit but if you are non-political it is getting harder and harder to play a part. I had a taste of politics in the district council and wasn't that keen on it."

Before the country's 51 new sheriffs are appointed in April, another ancient ceremony first has to take place at the Privy Council in London.

The Queen, using a silver bodkin in a practice dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria, will prick their names on a parchment list to give their appointments the Royal seal of approval.

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