THE new High Sheriff of Herefordshire says she will do all she can to help people.

Pat Churchward, who owns Brinsop Court, recently took on the role, which is a a blend of an ancient Saxon law-enforcing office that has evolved  over the centuries now suited to modern life.

And despite now being a ceremonial position, it still carries the status of being the King's highest judicial officer.

"I regarded it as a real honour to be asked to take this role," said Mrs Churchward.


"There is nothing extraordinary about me or my background.

"Maybe I was identified as someone who is familiar with the county, very much in favour of protecting our traditions, public spirited and happy to work hard?  Whatever the reasoning, I am immensely proud to have been asked and intend to do my best during this coming year.

"I am meeting some great people in this county and continue to be humbled by the difficult work that is done by so many for no reward, or for any other reason other than to simply help." 

Born in Wormsley, Mrs Churchward grew up in Whitney-on-Wye and attended Eardisley VC School before going on to St David’s Convent in Brecon.

Choosing French as her  main subject, Mrs Churchward trained at St Mary’s College, Cheltenham, and went on to teach in Shropshire.

Ledbury Reporter: Pat Churchward owns Brinsop, a successful wedding venue in HerefordshirePat Churchward owns Brinsop, a successful wedding venue in Herefordshire (Image: Submitted by Pat Churchward)

"Having wanted to be a teacher all through my earlier years, I then found the allure of self-employment too much to resist, and having married Martin, a PE teacher, in 1981, it seemed obvious that we should sell sportswear," she said.

"We started a small sports retailing business, progressing from outdoor weekend market stalls on freezing airfields, to indoor permanent market stalls with few customers, to a small tertiary-location shop, and gradually to a High Street location.

"They were tough days, long hours, no social life, little money and two small daughters - Harriet and Alice."

The couple later joined forces with Mark and Elaine Ellis, who were already involved in an established family-run business, and bought stock together, and formed MandM Sports. 

"It was a great formula - a good business and we're still good friends," added Mrs Churchward.

"During the growth period of MandM, we had another two daughters, Molly and Florence, and moved from Worcestershire down to Breinton, our third,  and hopefully final, move back to my home county."

Ledbury Reporter: Pat Churchward, pictured with High Court Judge Sir Andrew McFarlane, signs her declarationPat Churchward, pictured with High Court Judge Sir Andrew McFarlane, signs her declaration (Image: Submitted by Pat Churchward)

After selling MandM, the couple focused on property and land, with Mrs Churchward focusing on Brinsop Court.

"I have grown a business there which now sees about 120 plus weddings a year, with many corporate visits too," she said.

"TV shows have filmed with us, celebrities have stayed with us, schools have had wonderful proms with us and locals have engaged in fantastic charity fundraising events there.

"I’m outspoken, spontaneous, hardworking and hate laziness, injustice and too much detail. I love the cathedral and support Breinton Church.

"I have what I describe as a (sometimes annoying) sense of civic duty, so if I can help, I always feel I should, and I try."