New High Sheriff appointed for Tyne and Wear

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A HISTORY-MAKING woman – who is the only female in the UK to have run a national gas network – has landed another top job, by royal appointment.

Ruth Thompson, 57, has been sworn in as the new High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear.

The 57-year-old, who lives in Cleadon with her husband Keith, 59, will serve a year-long term supporting the Crown and the judiciary, crime reduction agencies, the emergency services and encouraging the voluntary sector.

High Sheriffs are officially appointed by the Queen after a meeting of the Privy Council.

Mrs Thompson is eager to spend her year in office raising awareness of the impact of domestic violence and abuse on children and support those working to help them.

She said: “Each year, the high sheriff can choose an area to specialise in – and my goal is to help children affected by domestic violence and abuse.

“Domestic violence and abuse knows no class, no colour, no creed. It exists in each community and it exists in every community.

“It is much more widespread than we would believe. It seems to me that the way we can all help is by creating a safe place to be a child, to play, to feel secure – physically and mentally.”

The new high Sheriff will also be on hand as part of any welcoming parties for royal visitors to the Tyne and Wear areas over the next year.

Mrs Thompson, who has children, Jessica, 29 and Calvin, 24, was born in South Shields before going to school in Sunderland and Washington.

She read law at Durham University before gaining her Masters in commercial law and an accountancy qualification. She is a qualified solicitor who has worked for Sunderland Councils, the Tyne & Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority and Tyne and Wear Development Company.

The mum-of-two joined Northern Gas, becoming Regional Solicitor, then left law to become network director for gas business Transco plc – the only woman to have run a gas network in the UK.