VECTIS VIEW: Kay Marriott – High Sheriff for the Isle of Wight

I feel extremely humbled and privileged to have been chosen to be the Island’s High Sheriff for the forthcoming year, particularly as I am Island born. I was educated at Cowes High School and live in Cowes with my husband, Brian.

After spending 44 years working in the NHS I planned to retire in March 2020; however, as we all know, Covid changed everybody’s plans that year and I became involved in numerous Covid-related projects, including the St Mary’s Hospital vaccination hub.

Like all Islanders, I feel passionate about the Island and during my year in office I aim to raise awareness about this important ceremonial position, and the part it plays in crime prevention. Many people are not aware that the High Sheriff is a voluntary role, and those appointed meet all the costs of their office each year, without any expense falling on the public purse.

The key responsibilities of the post are:
• to uphold and enhance the ancient office of High Sheriff and make a meaningful contribution on the Isle of Wight;
• to actively support the constitution in the county – including the Royal Family, the judiciary, the police, and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, the church and faith groups;
• to assist and support visiting high judges to the county, offering hospitality and attending to them at court;
• to support the Lord-Lieutenant during Royal visits and on other appropriate ceremonious occasions;
• to act as Returning Officer for parliamentary elections.

As you can imagine, I am very proud to have joined the ranks of the 55 High Sheriffs across the counties of England and Wales.

During the coming year, I will be doing all I can to raise the profile of organisations which support my theme within the community. The theme I have chosen is ‘Inspire to Aspire’. Having volunteered as a magistrate over the last three years, I am aware that some offenders entered the judicial system at a young age. Organisations that support young people to aspire to make better lifestyle choices are so important.

Inspire to Aspire will aim to highlight the work of people and organisations who dedicate their time to supporting young people at risk, and to inspire others to play a part. We all can be positive role models, give our time volunteering or acknowledging others, making a difference to the Island community in some way and making it a better place to live and enjoy.

I will also be promoting the High Sheriff’s Trust, a fund which has supported over 200 Island charities, groups and individuals on the Island. Donations to the trust are distributed to worthy causes who make a difference to the Island community in some way, making it a better place to live and enjoy.

It is important to acknowledge public servants, volunteers or community groups based on the Island, which I will do through offering the High Sheriff Awards. They place particular emphasis on those that promote crime prevention and enhance safety in our community. Nominations for worthy recipients can be made via the website;, which also gives details on how to donate to the trust.

My other interests include spending time with family and friends, keeping fit and reading. I am a member of the Isle of Wight Cantata Choir and a volunteer for Northwood House. I’m not quite sure how I am going to fit everything in over the forthcoming year, but I plan to give it my all.

I’m told the role of High Sheriff always involves meeting lots of Islanders. If you see me out and about (look for the feathered hat!) please do come and say ‘Hello’.