The Isle of Wight’s new High Sheriff is sworn in

Gioia Minghella-Giddens has been sworn in as the Island’s new High Sheriff at Northwood House in an ancient ceremony presided over by HH Judge Ralls QC, in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant and over 150 guests.   High Sheriffs are appointed by the Queen to represent her in all matters pertaining to Law and Order, and the Office is over 1000 years old.

Born and brought up on the Isle of Wight, and the eldest daughter of Edward and late Gloria Minghella MBE, JP, DL, Gioia lives in Havenstreet with her husband, Richard, and is the proud mother of four grown-up children – Sophie, Joseph, Lillie and Benedict.   A successful teacher for over 25 years, both on the Island and in London, Gioia changed career paths in 2002 when she took over the family ice cream business, from which she has recently retired, following its merger last year with the Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company.   Gioia said she feels that these experiences have been an important preparation for the new Office:

“This dual pathway has given me first-hand experience of working with young people from diverse backgrounds and of helping them find their feet as mature members of the community, as well as of the many challenges facing businesses and employers here on the Island. Equally, my family’s well-known commitment to community service means that I am well aware of the challenges faced by all the wonderful, often unsung heroes here who do so much for others on a voluntary basis.”

In her address, Gioia said she looks forward to the privilege of her year as High Sheriff as an opportunity to become involved in as many community projects as she can. She is particularly drawn to those which bring together and value both young people and senior citizens, those which support the elderly and infirm, those which reach out to the needier and more vulnerable members of the Island community, those which celebrate diversity, protect our heritage and, of course, those which encourage the Arts.   She anticipates a busy and rewarding year.

Gioia said:

“This is an amazing honour for me and my whole family, and it will be a privilege to serve the remarkable community of the Isle of Wight, which I love, and to which I owe so much.   I am overwhelmed by the support and kindness shown me by the family of past High Sheriffs, and in particular would like to thank Ben Rouse, who has done so much for the Island in the past year.   He has set me a wonderful example! I would also like to thank the Trustees of Northwood House, for making the House available to us today for the Ceremony.   It’s a truly beautiful setting for such a special occasion, and I am very grateful.”