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The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2015-2016

Mrs Francesca Skelton



The High Sheriff for Buckinghamshire 2015-2016

Francesca Skelton DL

Francesca was brought up in Cambridge, did her degree at Bristol University including a year at university in Berlin, and a postgraduate year studying and teaching at the University of British Colombia. She returned to the UK in 1977 to marry John who had recently joined Open University Educational Enterprises and they set up home in Milton Keynes.  Francesca commuted to London for 14 years, first working for The Guardian in advertising and then moving to IPC Magazines in 1981 for the launch of a new woman's magazine, Options.  She became a Publisher, overseeing all aspects of a portfolio of magazines which included Ideal Home.  On the birth of her second child she decided to work locally.  She moved from the private to the voluntary sector to manage the charity Relate Milton Keynes where she worked for ten years.  No longer a commuter, the community of Milton Keynes became Francesca's focus and she also took on voluntary roles.  She became a Trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, serving a three year term as Chair.  She later became a Governor of Milton Keynes College and served a rewarding six year term as Chair of the Board of Governors until 2013.  She is a Philanthropy Fellow for the MK Community Foundation where she is still a Trustee, and she remains a committed ambassador for Milton Keynes College.  She joined the Danesborough Chorus, is a Patron of Milton Keynes Gallery and is a Trustee of Milton Keynes Arts and Heritage Alliance.

Francesca has been a Deputy Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire since 2007.

Francesca and John have two children, Tom and Anna, who have now graduated from university.  John became Managing Director and co-owner of Open University Press, which was based in Buckingham until 2002 when it was sold to McGraw Hill.  He has continued to be on the Board of several independent publishers.  Francesca and her husband John have lived in Great Linford, a village in Milton Keynes that dates back to medieval times, for 36 years.  She is intrigued to be following in the footsteps of High Sheriffs Thomas Uthwatt, Esquire of Great Linford in 1726 and Henry Andrewes Uthwatt, Esquire of Great Linford in 1831.  Just as modern Milton Keynes connects to its historic roots, so the modern High Sheriff links back to a long history of the oldest secular role in the country.  Francesca will fulfil the traditional High Sheriff's role of supporting law and justice in the county, and will have a personal theme of culture and community.  She will support both the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Community Foundations, and welcomes the High Sheriff year as an opportunity to celebrate partnership and connection across the whole county.