The Office of High Sheriff is at least 1,000 years old, having
its roots in Saxon times, before the Norman conquest. It is
the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown.
Originally, the Office held many of the powers now vested
in HM Lord-Lieutenants, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local
Authorities, Coroners and even the Inland Revenue.
The Office of High Sheriff remained first in precedence in
the counties until the reign of Edward VII, when an Order
in Council in 1908 gave the Lord-Lieutenants the prime office
under the Crown as the Sovereign’s personal representative.
Lord-Lieutenants were created in 1547 for military duties
in the shires. The High Sheriff remains the Sovereign’s
representative in the County for all matters relating to the
Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.
Brigadier Alastair Fyfe was born in Misterton, Somerset on
21 October 1937. He was educated at Lancing College and the
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
He was commissioned into the Army in December 1958 and then
followed a military career for the next 32 years in the Light
Infantry – his County Regiment. He saw service in many
parts of the world including Germany, Gibraltar, Zambia, Berlin
and Northern Ireland. After studying at the Army Staff College,
he served in Belize and Northern Ireland (again) before going
to RMA Sandhurst as an instructor. After serving as an instructor
at the Nigerian Staff College, he was appointed Commanding
Officer of the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry which was
part of the United Nations Force in Cyprus. The Battalion
later returned to the UK and then moved to West Germany.
From 1988 to 1991, during the final crucial years of the
Gorbachev regime, he was the British Military Attache in the
former Soviet Union, serving at the British Embassy in Moscow.
He also held the appointment of Honorary ADC to HM The Queen
from 1989 to 1991.
He retired from the Regular Army in 1991 and served as the
Regimental Secretary at the Light Infantry Office in Taunton.
He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset in 1995.
He was appointed High Sheriff of Somerset in March 2006. He
is Vice-Chairman of the School Council of King’s College,
Taunton and of King’s Hall School, Vice-Provost of the
Woodard Schools (Western Region) and a Fellow of the Woodard
Schools Corporation. He is an Honorary Deputy Colonel of the
Rifle Volunteers (TA) and Chairman of the Somerset Military
Museum Trust, the Somerset Army Cadet Force Trust and of the
Somerset County Committee of the Army Benevolent Fund.
Alastair Fyfe was a keen athlete and represented the Army,
the Combined Services and Somerset at both athletics and cross-country
running. He also represented Gibraltar in the Commonwealth
Games in Perth, Australia in 1962. He is a keen supporter
of Somerset CCC and of Yeovil Town FC.
He is married to Deirdre (known as D). They have a daughter,
Nicola, aged 39, who is a school teacher in the Midlands and
a son, Andrew, aged 38, who is the County Emergency Planning
Officer for Buckinghamshire, both of whom are married.