Eric Masih, a member of the Bedford Asian church, was installed at St Paul's Church, Bedford, on 7 April, as the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for 2021-2022.
The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political royal appointment for a single year. Dating as far back as Saxon times, the role involved responsibility for maintaining law and order within the shire, and tax collection due to the Crown. Today, selecting someone for High Sheriff is about finding the right person who is in touch with the community, best suited to serve the Queen, providing support for the Crown and judiciary, particularly supporting initiatives which encourage crime reduction.
Eric has lived and worked with his family in Bedford for well over fifty years. His life work has been mostly within the property industry, leading eventually to the creation of his own property services company. An arm of the company significant to his community involvement was the launch of the lettings department, Gold Crown Letting Services, which works closely with social housing projects supporting rental accommodation to young and vulnerable people.
Serving both as the elder and treasurer of Bedford Asian Seventh-day Adventist church, Eric is open about his own faith community, "I want people to know that I am a Seventh-day Adventist."
Explaining how this works in practice, he explains, "At the same time, as I connect with the community, I want to build bridges, which means recognising that we are all children of God, whether we're of the Muslim, Hindu or Christian faith or none."
Eric seeks to build bridges, he is acutely aware of how the Christian community often suffers for the cause of Christ. His appointed chaplain is Pastor O P Chackochen, minister of the Bedford Asian church, who will accompany Eric on certain official functions.