Meet Anna Turner - Shropshire's first woman Lord Lieutenant
Shirley Tart introduces Shropshire's new Lord Lieutenant Anna Turner.
In one simple sentence from Buckingham Palace, a life can instantly change for the foreseeable future. In this case, it was confirmation that Her Majesty the Queen was pleased to appoint a new Lord Lieutenant for Shropshire.
And Anna Turner insists it was simply a case of her being in the right place at the right time. Simple as that.
But as she is revealed this week as Shropshire’s first female in the role, I suspect that we shall soon see much more to her than that.
Anna takes over the reins in January next year and a new era dawns.
Because for the past 22 years, the county has been led by Sir Algernon Heber-Percy of Hodnet Hall.
Well versed, much loved and a Shropshire champion, Sir Algy, as he is universally and fondly known, has led his county with charm, grace and commitment.
Now, in her own way, all the signs are that the new lady now committed to heading the team in leading the county onwards is also quietly well equipped for the job.
And it’s a role which she is set to value enormously. Anna says: “It was a window of opportunity I suppose. It is a tremendous honour and I was so privileged to be asked.”
Since it is a position which it is hoped will be filled for at least 10 years, clearly for anyone approached to take on the role, it is also one to be considered carefully. Anna Turner has considered.
She now goes forward into a new lieutenancy era. Her shipbroker husband Jonathon is, she chuckled, still a bit stunned, though delighted. But he, their children and the rest of the family, are equally supportive of the new appointment, something which Anna values enormously.
She is also well aware in whose shoes she follows. Sir Algernon Heber-Percy has held the county role since 1996. And now, in line with the rules, he must retire on his 75th birthday at the beginning of next year.
Anna says: “Over the years, Sir Algernon has been hugely supportive of me, a real friend, and such a valued servant of Shropshire.”
The same description can surely be laid at the door of Anna Turner, at the comfortable and very special home where she and Jonathon have lived, brought up their children and are valued members of the Prees Heath and nearby communities – I know that not because I asked this admirable couple themselves but because I asked around beforehand!
She says happily: “I came here after we were married and we have lived here ever since and have no intention of moving.
“Now, our grandchildren so enjoy being here as well. And I so enjoy spending as much time with them as I can. I hope I shall still be able to collect them from school once a week,” she said with a very hopeful smile.
Anna is also a keen horsewoman, rides as often as she can and over the years she has been involved in many local causes and campaigns which are so close to her heart and which may have to be surrendered to what she would see as at least equally capable.
And in the changes which loom for Anna Turner, she must give up being a magistrate which has been so important and point-to-point stewarding which has been such a part of her life, for instance.
She laughed: “When I first rode a flat race I so wanted to do it but was terrified all the same. Now I’m so excited by all of this … as well as being terrified!”
A former High Sheriff of the county, Anna is good humoured and entertaining company. Throw in a dose of common sense, and helped by the wise counsel of others, you have the recipe for interesting and encouraging times ahead keeping the flag flying as Sir Algy Heber-Percy did for so long.
At this important and significant time in her life, she says: “I’m really comfortable with the opportunity, and for a woman to become Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire. I think my strengths lie in being with people and I try not to forget that it is people who matter.”