Q&A: Janie Wentworth-Stanley, the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 11:32 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 February 2013

Janie Wentworth-Stanley

Janie Wentworth-Stanley

The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire and chairman of a youth charity, Janie Wentworth-Stanley, took time out from her busy schedule to talk to Louise McEvoy about working for British Olympic ski teams, life on a farm, and walking with goats

How did you become High Sheriff of Hertfordshire and what does the role involve?
You are nominated by a panel of people who have nothing to do with it. It's a Queen's appointment and an honour.
My role is to dig deep to find and support projects within the county which are promoting young people, with a particular reference to crime prevention.
I'm chairman of a youth charity, so I said I would focus on young people particularly. That doesn't mean I close myself down. I'm also very interested in the hospice movement, because it's not government funded and so many people need it.
I want to keep up the good work of previous high sheriffs by keeping the dignity of the office and getting more involved.

I understand you are also chairman of a newly-formed charity, Pro-Action. How did this come about and what are the charity's aims?
There was a charity called the Hertfordshire Association for Young People (HAYP) and basically Hertfordshire County Council suggested to HAYP and Herts Council for Voluntary Youth Services that it wanted to support the charities, but they must amalgamate. So I set Pro-Action up with some others last year.
The charity primarily looks after the voluntary youth clubs and groups in Hertfordshire. We run training classes, personal development courses and support days. We do positive activities and want to be the voluntary voice for youth in Hertfordshire.

You organised something called Hertfordshire Hopefuls. What was that all about?
I had this idea that would encourage talented people to come forward for auditions. The second time I did it, in 2004, I had 5,000 groups apply. Natasha Bedingfield judged the entries and we raised quite a lot of money for Hertfordshire Association for Young People. To see the young people on stage, I was literally in tears by the end. Of all the things I have done, that's the thing I'm possibly most proud of in my voluntary capacity.

Tell the reader a bit about yourself
I am the eldest of six children. My father was originally in the army so we travelled quite a deal.
My passion in life is skiing. In the old days I looked after the British Olympic ski teams. That was one of my favourite jobs. I booked them in for races, and did all the fun things like testing their equipment.
I have three daughters and have lived in Hertfordshire since 1984. I live between Stevenage and Ware, on a farm near Dane End.

Tell the reader a bit about life on the farm
I love where we live because we have created it - it was a tumbled down shack when we bought it.
I'm mad about my animals - I have two cows, goats, and I had two pigs but they have died. They are all pets. It's a working farm, but it's an arable farm. The goats come for walks with us!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to walk my dogs and cycle. I love seeing my friends and entertaining, although I hate cooking. I love anything French - going to France and French food.

What do you like about Hertfordshire?
I love Hertfordshire because it's so diverse. It's got pockets of countryside and sophisticated towns. I love Hertfordshire because it's close to London. I love art and sculpture and London is great for that.

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