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Theresa Courtauld: Norfolk High Sheriff and campaigner for county’s churches

PUBLISHED: 18:24 25 June 2013

Baconsthorpe Queen's Jubilee celebration event. Memorabilia from the Queen's coronation, including two chairs used at the service in Westminster Abbey, will be on show at Baconsthorpe Church. Theresa Courtauld pictured with the chairs.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Baconsthorpe Queen's Jubilee celebration event. Memorabilia from the Queen's coronation, including two chairs used at the service in Westminster Abbey, will be on show at Baconsthorpe Church. Theresa Courtauld pictured with the chairs. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

A former High Sheriff of Norfolk and a campaigner for the county’s rich heritage of churches, Theresa Courtauld, has died aged 70.

She also followed in her late father’s footsteps in the largely ceremonial post, which dates back more than 1,000 years.

In March 2001, she took over from the current Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, when her name had been selected by the Queen at the ceremony of pricking a parchment with the names of the new High Sheriffs using a silver bodkin.

The oldest daughter of the former MP, diplomat and north Norfolk landowner, Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe, who died in 1993, she also ran the family’s estate for many years. The family has been landowners at Barningham, near Holt, for about 400 years as her son, Thomas, recalled in an address at her funeral.

A former chairman of the Norfolk Churches Trust, who served for two years until 2000, she remained a member of the advisory council.

Brought up at Barningham, she returned to Norfolk in 1976 and lived at Baconsthorpe, where she became fully involved in the community. A keen gardener and lover of the arts, she was widely regarded for her ability to get things done – whether fund-raising or just driving local people to hospitals or the doctor’s surgery if needed.

She had a gift for fund-raising and was involved, typically behind the scenes, in organising a number of events. More recently, she was persuading volunteers to take part in opening “Secret Houses” raised significant sums and she was always willing to enlist backing for unconventional car boot and plant sales – all to make money for charities and good causes. Hugely respected for organising and getting things done, quietly and without fuss, she never sought the limelight but was always welcoming and enthusiastic.

She was also appointed a tax commissioner and was probably one of the first women to hold the post in the former St Faith’s district before it was later abolished by the Lord Chancellor.

She is survived by a daughter, Diana and son, Thomas, and three grandchildren, Matilda, Charlie and Thomas.

A funeral has been held at Baconsthorpe Church.

Michael Pollitt

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