AN EAST Lancashire business leader has been announced as the new High Sheriff of Lancashire.

Anthony Attard OBE DL, the CEO of Hapton-based textile firm Panaz will be sworn in at at special ceremony on April 6 when he takes over the office from the incumbent High Sheriff, Robert Mitchel Webb JP DL.

Mr Attard set up the business in 1986 and has built up the company into one of Europe's leading suppliers of high quality decorative fabrics and wallcoverings for the hospitality, healthcare and corporate sectors.

The company has also received two Queen's Awards for International Trade and Innovation.

Tony said: “To become High Sheriff of Lancashire is a great honour and one that I will always hold very dear. This historical privilege is a great and ancient tradition that to follow in the footsteps of so many great Lancastrians is quite a daunting prospect.

"I will do my utmost to carry on the excellent work my immediate past Sheriffs have achieved and uphold the objectives of the position. In my year of responsibility I will endeavour to work closely with the judiciary and to create lasting relationships with all of Lancashire’s diverse cultures and religious groups.”

The role of High Sheriff includes a duty to 'protect and assist in upholding the dignity and wellbeing of Her Majesty’s Judges and to project the principles of encouraging responsible citizenship and respect for the diversity of the community which lie at the heart of our Constitution'. The office of High Sheriff is an unpaid and voluntary role.

Tony was made an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2010 New Year's honours and a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2016.

He was appointed Chairman of Marketing Lancashire in 2015 and he is an advisor to the board of Creative Lancashire.

Tony lives with his Lancastrian wife Patricia in Grimsargh. Their three sons grew up in the county and went to Stonyhurst College. Simon and Rollie are now in the family business, and their youngest son Max is studying to be an actor at RADA.