THE HIGH SHERIFF, Geoff Thompson
My wife, Janet, and I have lived in Uppingham in Rutland since 2011, so we are relative newcomers compared to many residents.
My career had been spent in financial services, most recently in IT and Operations Risk Management.
I have been volunteering for most of my life and since retiring in 2018 have supported many organisations in Rutland, with the most significant being Chair of Governors of Uppingham Community College and Chair of the £0.5m Lottery-funded Resilient Rutland project.
Janet is Chair of the Uppingham Neighbourhood Forum, a Brownie leader and a volunteer driver for the Uppingham Hopper bus. She was awarded a BEM in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the community, especially during the “Covid years” but she has been volunteering for most of her adult life.
I am very much looking forward to my High Sheriff year and meeting as many people in Rutland as possible most particularly those working in voluntary organisations
THE UNDER SHERIFF, Kate Blank
I am a Rutland girl, my parents having moved to Preston in 1969. I went to Oakham school then studied law with French LLB Hons at the University of Birmingham and gained my Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of Leicester. I practised as a solicitor for all my working life, mostly at firms in Birmingham and Leicester. I specialised in corporate and business law for private companies, businesses and individuals.
I am very honoured to have been asked every year since 2010 to be the Under Sheriff, as the High Sheriff makes their own appointment each year.
I live in Rutland, I am married to a very patient Michael and my children who keep me fit are a springer spaniel and a Labrador !
CHAPLAIN TO THE HIGH SHERIFF, Jill Cannings
Jill is a lay chaplain with a long career in social care undertaking a number of roles in social services as a social worker, trainer, manager, and chair of child protection conferences. She worked as a senior manager in the NSPCC and finally an inspector of NSPCC services. Married to Peter they have two children James and Emma now in their early 40s. Their Christian faith had always been a solid foundation for their work and family life. Jill trained in our diocese
as a lay pastoral minister and then, with Peter, went on to train as Readers and embarked on busy ministries.
Peter and Geoff were good friends and sadly Peter died at the young age of 69 in 2017. He was a man
of great faith, and Jill is reassured by the knowledge that he would want her to be continuing an active ministry.
She actively supports a number of charities, has three times visited Bethlehem to volunteer for a small charity helping
Palestinian children. She has also visited Tanzania in support of a charity supporting HIV/ aids orphans. She acts as a Reader in her own benefice of Uppingham and
also assists in 3 adjoining benefices. In fact she is keen to share the gospel wherever and whenever asked. For over 10 years she has been chaplain to the local fire service. In 2019 she became the Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union. This is a 3 year role that has recently come to an end. She has been lucky to see the Mothers’ Union at work in Tanzania, the black townships of South Africa and in Antigua.
When not pursuing her ministries Jill enjoys the company of family and friends. She reads, loves live theatre and classical music. She has always been involved in playing many sports and now plays golf.
High Sheriff’s Police Cadets
Police Cadets for 2022-23 have been appointed recently and details will appear here once available from Leicestershire and Rutland Police.
Hello, my name is Mephee and I have been an Emergency Service Cadet for 4 years – something I’m
happy and proud to be a part of. Through the cadet programme I have been able to develop my
personal skills and practical skills whilst gaining an insight into working in the services. I am planning
on studying Adult Nursing and know that the skills and abilities I have gained from cadets will
support me in doing this. One of the most important things for me has been developing my
confidence, this has been done through the encouragement from our leaders and guiding fellow
cadets. I hope that being appointed as a new High Sheriff of Rutland cadet will allow me to continue
to grow my skills and support others in the cadets programme and community.
Hi, I’m Chad one of the new High Sheriff of Rutland cadets. I’ve been a member of the Leicestershire
Police Cadets programme for nearly 4 years and have made many relationships with the community,
cadets and leaders and have learned new skills. My goal in the future is to join the police service. I
am very excited to attend the duties in the future and make more relationships with the community
and other organisations.
High Sheriff in Nomination for 2023-24, Geraldine Feehally
Born in Nottinghamshire, educated in Lincolnshire at Stamford High School, now retired from my last teaching role in Leicester, I’m delighted to be living in Rutland at last! I have taught all ages in schools and been an adult tutor for Workers Educational
Association and a Governor Trainer. In between I volunteered, a powerful means of learning, wellbeing and community cohesion which the people of Rutland understand so well. I was a Beaver Scout and Sunday School leader and a school governor. Currently I’m a governor at Exton and Greetham Primary Academy and active for Hope into Action, a national project to house the homeless. In Oakham. I’m part of a fantastic volunteer team that supports 4 previously homeless young men who want to leave their past unstable, chaotic lives to become responsible
adults. After teaching in several UK city schools and in USA and Kenya, I worked with an isolated Masai community and Kenyan national authorities, to build and develop a sustainable secondary school for girls in the Masai Mara, using funds raised in UK.
Sekenani Girls High School opened in 2016 and now has 450 boarding students to keep them safe from FGM and child marriage and to provide the necessary conditions for the learning that releases them from poverty. I am an active member of All Saints Church, Oakham. My Christian faith and interest in others has always extended my learning and understanding. I love my peaceful
allotment and all other ways of enjoying the outdoors.
High Sheriff in Nomination for 2024-25, Richard Cole
Richard was High Sheriff of Rutland in 2020-21, the year most affected by the Covid pandemic, and adapted the role to make best use of Social Media and video conferencing to reach as many people as possible in this difficult year.
Originally from West Yorkshire, Richard moved to Leicestershire in 1981 and then to Rutland in 1989 living in Uppingham with his wife Pat and their two children.
He has a broad commercial and management background having worked for several multi-national companies. Alongside this, he was a member of the Territorial Army for 24 years before serving with the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for 10 years.