$render.recurse($ctx, '$content.code.value')
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Meet the new High Sheriff of Hampshire, Rupert Younger

PUBLISHED: 17:40 11 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:45 27 June 2013

Bass guitarist, businessman, dad and community champion. Meet the multi-talented man who has just been sworn in as one of Hampshire’s youngest ever High Sheriffs

Standing in front of his band in black breeches, tights, velvet jacket and a sword, Rupert Younger looks like a latter day Adam Ant albeit without the make-up.

As the newly-invested High Sheriff of Hampshire, Rupert is entitled to raise a hue and cry and summon a posse, and for a split second the comedic value of posing like some swashbuckling highwayman sword aloft flashes through his mind but then Rupert glances at the photographer and goes off to change, leaving the band to tune up.

Returning in jeans and a T-shirt and picking up his bass guitar, Rupert is apologetic.

It would be quite fun but the issue is respect for a 1,000-year-old office, he explains.

And this encapsulates the qualities Rupert possesses that saw him become Hampshires High Sheriff at a formal ceremony at Winchester Law Courts on the morning of our interview.

At 46, he is one of the youngest High Sheriffs Hampshire has ever had, hes just recorded his first album and teaches at the University of Oxford.

He is different from many of his predecessors - and other High Sheriffs around the country nominated for the year-long job - because hes not from the armed services or the legal or medical profession.

But while Rupert may, in some ways, be a break with the past, he is very much a traditionalist. He has a love of Hampshire and a great sense of duty towards it. The county is, after all, in his blood; his mother and grandparents are from here and Rupert was schooled at Winchester College.

Hampshire is the most spectacularly varied and interesting county, says Rupert, It has a brilliant geography, with the coastline and the Isle of Wight, the South Downs and the vibrant cities. Its a wonderful place to live.

Ruperts parents first home after they married was in Bishops Sutton but they moved to Scotland soon after he was born as his father is part of the Younger Scottish brewing dynasty. Rupert returned to Hampshire at 13 to go to Winchester College. After university in Aberdeen, he later co-founded a financial PR company, RLM Finsbury Group in London, where Rupert and his family lived. In 2001, Rupert and his wife, Catherine, decided to take a weekend break with their three children on the Isle of Wight.

While we were there, we were looking through a magazine and saw this amazing house for sale in West Meon, he says. On the way back we popped by on the off chance we could have a look.

The couple who owned it showed us round and we stayed chatting for hours. By that evening we had fallen for the place and decided to buy it. We left London and never looked back.

Ruperts two daughters, Honor, 13, and Lorna, 10, both go to Twyford School and his son, Alec, 14, is following in his fathers footsteps and has just started at Winchester College.

The familys move to West Meon set about the chain of events that eventually led to Rupert becoming High Sheriff.

It started with the village shop, which I bought in 2003 because it was failing and needed investment, says Rupert. The Post Office next door was also under threat so Royal Mail agreed to let me relocate it into the shop and I became postmaster.

Ten years on someone else manages the Post Office element but we managed to fight another closure threat which is great because those relying on pensions and other Post Office related services continue to get them in the village.

As impressive is the story of the shop itself. Rupert got together a group of villagers to invest in the repair and restoration of the fabric of the shop, and in the restocking.

I then held a meeting in the village hall, he says, and we agreed that it would be a community shop, wholly owned by the community.

We now have over 550 shareholders with everyone owning one equal share. The shop is manned by one or two paid staff at all times and is supported by a team of fantastic volunteers. We are all very proud of what we have managed to achieve as a village.

Rupert and his team were so successful that they received some state funding and Rupert visited other villages advising them on how to buy up their own failing shops.

Last year West Meons shop was a finalist in the national Community Shop of the Year awards and is still a vibrant hub in the village.

It was this selfless work for the community that first brought Rupert to the attention of the then High Sheriff, Clare Bartlett. And it was Clare who turned up on Ruperts doorstep one night to pop the question.

She asked if I would like to be a future High Sheriff of Hampshire. I had no idea what a High Sheriff did but how could I say no?

Well, there was the small matter of his day jobs director of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation and a partner in his City PR firm, as well as raising a young family, playing in a band and helping run the West Meon shop.

Im a great believer that if you want something done, ask a busy person, says Rupert. I was very honoured to be nominated and it would be completely churlish not to grab such an incredible opportunity.

Rupert is not the sort of man to do a job half-heartedly and is utterly committed to achieving as much as he can as High Sheriff before April 2014 when his successor takes over.

I have a lot on my plate which is why I have decided to commit myself to three causes and do them well rather than throwing myself at everything that comes along.

As the Queens legal representative in the county (High Sheriffs date back to Saxon times when they maintained law and order and collected taxes for the Crown) Rupert will be expected to greet visiting Royalty and High Court judges. He can also select local organisations and charities to support and Rupert has chosen three.

He wants to help prisoners find work when they are released to stop them from re-offending - a cause he took up after a tour of Winchester Prison last year.

The second cause is closer to his heart and involves supporting a school Shepherds Down - and a theatre company Blue Apple Theatre - which work with children with special needs as Ruperts brother has learning disabilities and has himself thrived in similar environments.

Thirdly, Rupert plans to start a community awards scheme in Hampshire, celebrating the work of people who volunteer their time and energy without fanfare or fuss. The county will be split into eight regions and people can nominate those they believe are worthy of an award for their tireless work for others.

The role of High Sheriff is what you make it, says Rupert. I have an idea of some of the problems in the county we have cities like Southampton and Portsmouth with problems of drug abuse and unemployment. I dont really know in detail about these things yet, but I will. It will be my job to listen and learn and see if theres any way in which I can help.

Behind him, the band the Chalk Flowers is eager to start rehearsals. They are enjoying some success with their first album, recorded at Wallops Wood Studios in the South Downs National Park, and now available on iTunes (a progression which necessitated a name change from the original Kings of Meon because it was too like the successful band Kings of Leon).

As Rupert picks up his bass guitar and the band prepares to go through their repertoire of songs written, naturally, by Rupert in his spare time he looks as least like the holder of the oldest civic office in the land as its possible to imagine.

But then that is the brilliance of Hampshires sparkling new High Sheriff he is a man of many hidden talents.


More from People

Wed, 15:32

Graphic artist Chris Gibson is bringing Hampshire’s landmarks in to people’s homes with his nostalgic posters

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

Something Wicked this way comes… the hit musical follows the yellow brick road to Southampton this month. Leading ladies Amy Ross and Helen Woolf share tales from behind the emerald curtain

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Turning 40 kick started a career change for Claire Fuller that took even her by suprise. She talks to Rebecca Fletcher about becoming a best-selling author, and what to expect from her latest novel

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

You can take the lady out of Hampshire but you can’t take Hampshire out the lady. Yes, it’s a corny expression but it is true in the case of actress, singer, dancer and TV presenter Amanda Holden, who has never forgotten her roots in the county

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

With her bold, graphic designs, New Forest artist Evelyn Bartlett captures the magnificent scenery on her doorstep

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

From food and drink to fashion and furnishings, Wickham is home to businesses that are pushing the boundaries. Viv Micklefield meets some of those proud to be different

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

A surf club… on the Isle of Wight? Surely not! 50 years on, Faith Eckersall meets those that say their little island is the surfing community’s best kept secret

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tinnitus affects around 10% of the UK population and often goes untreated. Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care told us everything you need to know about tinnitus

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sir Ben Ainslie’s sights are set on bringing home the 36th America’s Cup in 2021 and hoping to join the battle are the sailors currently in his youth squad. Viv Micklefield catches-up with some of the young guns already taking the world by storm

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

You can’t keep Mary Berry out of the kitchen and the same goes for Hampshire. Bernard Bale hears about her favourite places to visit

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

We are a nation of shopkeepers, but is the shop dying? We head to Winchester’s High Street

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

Vibrant and colourful, Overton artist Arabella Ross captures nature in its most vivid form says Sandra Smith

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Once destined for the chip fryer, we visit one north Hampshire business whose award winning single-estate cold pressed oil is giving Tuscan traditionalists a run for their money

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search