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TV gardener Alan sworn in as High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight

April 7, 2008
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Former Ground Force star Alan Titchmarsh fell for the charms of the Isle of Wight long ago. And now the people of the island have showed they're equally as fond of the star as he is of them - by appointing him High Sheriff.

The horticultural maestro, who owns a flat in the yachting village of West Cowes, wore full Sheriff's uniform for the induction ceremony on Monday. "Home is where I hang my hat, and there is no hat that I am more proud to own, or to do justice to, than the hat of High Sheriff," he said.

And although Alan hails from Ilkley in Yorkshire and now lives in a £1.5 million farmhouse in Hampshire - prompting some Island councillors to voice concerns that the job should have gone to a more permanent resident - he insists he regards the Isle of Wight as his home. "It is where I write and spend a lot of time," he reveals. "I regard myself as an Islander, love the Island and the way people treat me here."

The TV gardener was originally offered the year-long post three years ago, but turned it down. Explaining his change of heart, he revealed: "I changed my mind. First it was a great honour, second there was a great costume... But third I could put something back into an island that has given me and my family so much".

The duty of the High Sheriff, a position which dates back to before 1066, is officially the unpaid enforcement of the Queen's writ on the island. Today, however, the role is largely ceremonial.

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Photo: ©
Wearing the full High Sheriff's uniform, former Ground Force star Alan was sworn in to his new role on Monday Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Although he lives in Hampshire, the gardener says he thinks of the Isle of Wight - where he owns a flat (right) in the yachting village of West Cowes - as homePhoto: © Rex

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