The Office of High Sheriff of Lancashire

The High Sheriff of Lancashire has ancient origins and is personally appointed by the King in his Right as Duke of Lancaster. The office, as Keeper of the Kings Peace, is unpaid and held for one year.


Anthony (Tony) Attard was born in Weymouth but 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 of love and activity.

With a commitment to art from a very young age and the encouragement of his family, Tony decided to follow a life in the arts by utilising his skills in design and painting. Many career opportunities became apparent but, after a visit to Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) to look at Textiles as an option, an offer to read Design Management with a Scholarship from Courtaulds Plc became his course of action. Not only did it offer a creative path but the combination of business and science was to prove extremely important in Tony’s career.

After attending St Edward's RC Secondary School and later Poole Grammar School, Tony left Poole for UMIST. Little did he know that this was to be a lasting move to the North of England and, in particular, to Lancashire.

Whilst at University Tony sadly witnessed the large Woolworth's fire in Piccadilly Gardens, where 16 people lost their lives; he did not realise then that this tragedy was to have such a lasting effect on him. After a successful fast track management career with Courtaulds and Tootal, he decided that his real calling was to create his own business, and so, in 1986, the business Panaz was founded. The company, which specialises in the design and creation of flame retardant fabrics for international commercial interiors, now exports to over 50 countries and has received two Queen's Awards for International Trade and Innovation. Tony retains his attachment to the University by sitting on the Board of Advisors to the School of Material Science and being a member of the General Assembly.

But Tony’s life extends further than the Panaz boardroom and textile industry; his interest in helping others is manifest as immediate past President of the Furniture Makers’ Charity in London and as a benefactor of the Helping Hands Sewing Rooms in Skelmersdale, which assists women in making new lives for themselves.

Tony is a confessed “born again Lancastrian” after marrying his lovely Lancastrian wife, Patricia, and raising their three boys in the county. Simon and Rollie are now involved in the family business and Max, their youngest son, is studying to be an actor at RADA. Tony's relationship with Lancashire has further evolved as Chairman of Marketing Lancashire and advising the board of Creative Lancashire. He was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the 2010 new year's honours and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2016.

“To become High Sheriff is a great honour and one that I will always hold very dear. This historical privilege is a great and ancient tradition and 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 the immediate past Sheriffs have achieved and to 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.”

Anthony J. W Attard