THE founder of Horatio's Garden has been appointed as the new High Sheriff for Wiltshire and Swindon.

Dr Olivia Chapple was sworn in on Friday, April 5, in a ceremony which dates back to Saxon times.

She made her Declaration and acceptance at St John the Baptist Church, Bishopstone, taking over from Mr Pradeep Bhardwaj.

This is an independent and non-political position appointed by the monarchy for one year.

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During her official Declaration ceremony and celebration at St John the Baptist Church in Bishopstone, near Salisbury, Dr Chapple shared that she will focus on encouraging people to connect with nature during her term.

Salisbury Journal: 'I also hope to encourage people to connect with nature', says Dr Olivia Chapple'I also hope to encourage people to connect with nature', says Dr Olivia Chapple (Image: Contributed)

Dr Chapple said: "I feel honoured to have become High Sheriff of Wiltshire and I am really looking forward to the year ahead. It will be a pleasure to meet and thank all the extraordinary people doing wonderful work throughout the county and to discover more about the positive impact of everything they do.

"As High Sheriff, I also hope to encourage people to connect with nature and embrace spending time outside in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

"Spending time in gardens and green spaces is so important, not only for our physical health, but also our mental and spiritual health."

Around 100 guests attended the ceremony and reception. Dr Chapple was joined by local dignitaries and community leaders from across the region, alongside friends and family to celebrate her appointment.

The ceremonial procession included the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, chief fire officer of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Ben Ansell, chief constable of Wiltshire Police, Ms Catherine Roper, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Philip Wilkinson OBE, and the former Mayors of Salisbury, Tom and Caroline Corbin.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Judd DBE KC officiated and witnessed the Declaration.

Founded by Dr Chapple, the Salisbury-based charity opened the first Horatio’s Garden, named after her eldest son, at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury District Hospital in 2012.

Since then, it has opened six additional gardens in NHS spinal injury centres throughout the UK, each one thoughtfully created by a leading landscape designer to nurture the well-being of people adjusting to life-changing spinal injuries.

To follow Dr Chapple’s activities as High Sheriff, follow @highsheriffofwiltshire on Instagram, to find out more about Horatio’s Garden visit