Voluntary Sector Support

The High Sheriff of Bristol funds a range of holiday activities for young people in disadvantaged communities, to provide opportunities for positive and constructive engagement, and to reduce crime and youth offending in those communities. The activities include sport, drama, art, caving, climbing and many others.

Bristol Youth and Community Action (BYCA) holiday funding is allocated to offer extra support to partnerships operating in areas of the City that have been identified as lacking accessible provision for these activities. Most of the projects and activities take place during the half term or summer school holidays.

BYCA donations amount to some £40,000 a year, enabling some 5,000 children aged 8 to 13 to benefit. To quote from feedback on our programme in 2018

“The money provided enabled many children of families to attend who otherwise would not have done so. We covered a wide area of sports which included football, rugby, cricket, tennis, handball, athletics, basketball, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, plus there was a water fight/slide and too many games to mention. It certainly was an action packed summer.”

Quartet Community Foundation manages the High Sheriff’s Fund but the BYCA panel, with advice from Young Bristol, allocates the funding. The BYCA panel comprises representatives from Bristol City Council, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, the voluntary sector, the local business community and three High Sheriffs past, current and future.

Click here to download the BYCA guidelines and application form.

For assistance with applying for BYCA funding please contact Quartet, byca@quartetcf.org.uk,  telephone 0117 989 7700.

County History

History of Sheriffs in Bristol
The first known reference to Sheriffs or “Shire Reeves” is in 992 A.D. when the king ordered them to collect the hated Danegeld tax being the ransom required by the Danes after they defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Maldon. Thereafter, they became royal appointees in the shires to look after royal interests, in particular the collection of revenues and the enforcement of law and order.

In 1373, Edward III granted Bristol the status of a county and the first Sheriff of Bristol, John Viell, was appointed Sheriff. The names of all the Sheriffs since then are known and recorded and they include merchants, landowners and pirates. From 1500 the burden of the shrieval office was such that it was shared by two Sheriffs. In 1836, the first election under the Municipal Reform Act was held and the office reverted to a single holder.

In 1974, 600 years after Edward III’s grant, the County of Bristol was subsumed in the County of Avon. In 1996, when Bristol became a unitary authority, it regained its county status. George Ferguson, gazetted High Sheriff of Avon in March 1996, became High Sheriff of the County of the City of Bristol.

High Sheriffs for the City of Bristol.

1996-97       Mr George Ferguson  CBE
1997-98       Mrs Brenda Lalonde
1998-99       Mr Howard Webber
1999- 2000 Mr John Pool (deceased)
2000-01       Mr St John Hartnell (deceased)
2001-02       Dr Malcolm Campbell
2002-03       Dr John Savage
2003-04       Mrs Helen Thornhill  JP
2004-05       Valerie, Lady Kingman (deceased)
2005-06       Mr Roger Baird
2006-07       Mr Richard Lee (deceased)
2007-08       Professor Richard Hodder-Williams
2008-09       Mr Bob Durie
2009-10       Dr Timothy Chambers  OBE  JP  DL
2010-11       Mrs Peaches Golding  OBE
2011-12       Dr John Cottrell
2012-13       Mr Andrew Nisbet
2013-14       Dr Shaheen Chaudry  JP
2014-15       Mr Michael Bothamley
2015-16       Dr Rosalind Kennedy
2016-17       Ms Helen Wilde
2017-18       Mr Anthony Brown
2018-19       Mr Roger Opie  MBE  DL
2019-20       Mr Charles Wyld

From 1974 to 1996 there were High Sheriffs of the County of Avon (covering the four authorities currently known as the City of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and Northeast Somerset, and North Somerset ). Prior to 1974 there were Borough Sheriffs of the City of Bristol.


Quartet Community Foundation is a charity that helps donors in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to support the local causes and charities they care about and make an impact through their giving. It manages the High Sheriff’s Fund.
Set up in 1987, Quartet uses its expertise to identify issues of importance to its donors and award grants on their behalf to community charities and voluntary groups making a real difference to people’s lives. You can find out here about how to give through Quartet or how to apply for a grant.

Bristol Cathedral is one of England’s great medieval churches, originating as an Augustinian Abbey, founded c. 1140. It remains a religious, social and cultural centre at the heart of the city and many important events take place there. The present Dean is The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, MA. The Cathedral hosts the High Sheriff’s Concert in June each year.

St George’s Bristol is one of the country’s leading concert halls. It boasts a superb acoustic and unique atmosphere which attracts the world’s best artists. It was built between 1821 and 1823 and was the city’s first building in the Greek Revival style. St George’s Bristol has been a concert hall for the past 30 years. In 2018 an extension was opened beside the Church which allows for a wider range of activities, complimenting the Hall itself. St George’s will be the venue for the annual High Sheriff’s reception in 2020.

The present church is a Grade I listed building that is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, said by Elizabeth I to be ‘The fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England’. It hosts Rush Sunday, one of the highlights of Bristol’s civic calendar, upholding a tradition which goes back over 500 years with those attending carrying nosegays and the floor of the church strewn with rushes. It will also host the 2019 Legal Service, to celebrate the contribution made by the legal community to the life of Bristol.

Young Bristol is a youth-driven charity that works to deliver a choice of opportunities and experiences for all young people. It helps with the selection, coordination and monitoring of the BYCA programme described under Voluntary Sector Support