The new High Sheriff of Lancashire has been announced as award winning businessman Anthony Attard OBE.
Mr Attard is the chief executive officer of Panaz which he launched originally in Fence but is now based at Network 65 in Hapton
When Mr Attard left Poole in Dorset to go to university, little did he know that this was to be a lasting move to the North of England.
While at university in Manchester, he witnessed the large Woolworths fire in 1979, where 16 people lost their lives.
This tragedy was to have a lasting effect on him, and he went on to start his own company designing and creating flame-retardant fabrics for international commercial interiors, and exports to over 50 countries.
As the new High Sheriff, Mr Attard will be sworn in at a special ceremony on Friday, April 6th, when he takes over the office from the incumbent High Sheriff, Robert Mitchel Webb JP DL.
Each year the Queen personally appoints the High Sheriff of Lancashire - a role dating back over 1,000 years.
Speaking about his appointment Mr Attard said: “To become High Sheriff of Lancashire is a great honour and one that I will always hold very dear.
"This historical privilege is a great and ancient tradition that to follow in the footsteps of so many great Lancastrians is quite a daunting prospect.
"I will do my utmost to carry on the excellent work my immediate past Sheriffs have achieved and uphold the objectives of the position. In my year of responsibility I will endeavour to work closely with the judiciary and to create lasting relationships with all of Lancashire’s diverse cultures and religious groups.”
The role of High Sheriff includes a duty to 'protect and assist in upholding the dignity and wellbeing of Her Majesty’s Judges and to project the principles of encouraging responsible citizenship and respect for the diversity of the community which lie at the heart of our Constitution'. The office of High Sheriff is an unpaid and voluntary role.
Mr Attard was made an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2010 New Year's honours and a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2016.
He was appointed Chairman of Marketing Lancashire in 2015 and he is an advisor to the board of Creative Lancashire.
He studied Design Management at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) with a Scholarship from Courtaulds PLC, followed by a successful fast-track management career with Courtaulds and then Tootal.
In 1986 he decided that his real calling was to create his own business and founded Panaz.
Weymouth-born, Mr Attard grew up in sunny Poole in Dorset. Raised in a large family with a combination of 13 uncles and aunts, home life was a big family affair with plenty going on.
He lives with his Lancastrian wife Patricia in Grimsargh. Their three sons grew up in the county and went to Stonyhurst College. Simon and Rollie are now in the family business, and their youngest son Max is studying to be an actor at RADA.
Panaz has received two Queen's Awards for International Trade and Innovation.
Mr Attard's life and work in Lancashire extends further than the Panaz boardroom and the textile industry. He previously served as National President of the Furniture Makers Guild Charity in London and is currently a member of the Guilds Court.
He is also a benefactor of the Helping Hands sewing rooms in Skelmersdale, which helps women to make a new life for themselves.
He is also chairman of Alusid a new company that manufactures a new solid material discovered at the University of Central Lancashire.
He also retains his attachment to the University of Manchester with a seat on the board of advisors to the School of Material Science.