A BUSINESS boss has added his family shield to more than 650 others at a historic castle to mark his appointment as one of the Monarch's key representatives in Lancashire.

Tony Attard, chief executive of Hapton-based textile firm Panaz, was sworn in as the county's High Sherriff on April 6 after being appointed to the job by The Queen with a needle.

Last week he hung his specially created coat of arms in Lancaster Castle’s Shire Hall in ceremony with centuries of tradition behind it.

It now hangs alongside more than 650 shields, including every English monarch since King Richard the Lionheart who died in 1199, and all the Constables of Lancaster Castle and former High Sheriffs of Lancashire.

To confirm his appointment The Queen 'pricked' his name on a parchment using a bodkin, or large needle, in practice dating back to Queen Elizabeth I.

Mr Attard set up Panaz in 1986 after witnessing the large Manchester Woolworths fire in 1979, in 16 people died, while at university in the city.

The tragedy had a lasting effect and he started the company designing and creating flame-retardant fabrics.

Since then he has built up the company into one of Europe's leading suppliers of high quality decorative materials for the hospitality, healthcare and corporate sectors exporting to more than 50 countries.

Mr Attard, also chairman of Marketing Lancashire, said: “It’s a wonderful honour to be able to place my own family crest alongside those of the other High Sheriffs dating back many centuries.

“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.

“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.”

Mr Attard, born in Poole in Dorset, lives with his Lancastrian wife Patricia in Grimsargh. Their three sons grew up in the county and went to Stonyhurst College

He was awarded the OBE in 2010, made a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2016 and is an advisor to Creative Lancashire.

The ancient shield-hanging ceremony is a colourful and historic spectacle, featuring a fanfare of trumpets and a stunning array of costumes.

The office of High Sheriff is held on a voluntary basis for a year and its aim is to ‘protect and assist in upholding the dignity and well-being 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 High Sheriff does not receive any salary or expenses for the work.

Before the ceremony, a service was held in the Priory Church.

He took over from Robert Mitchel Webb.