Sue Snowdon becomes first female Lord Lieutenant of County Durham

THE Queen’s first woman representative for County Durham was last night officially appointed to the post.

THE Queen’s first woman representative for County Durham was last night officially appointed to the post.

Sue Snowdon, the founder of a flourishing food festival, succeeded Sir Paul Nicholson as Lord Lieutenant of County Durham.

Mrs Snowdon who lives near Crook, is the first-ever woman to take up the role.

She said: “It is humbling and such a privilege to be appointed.

“It’s even more incredible to think I am the first lady to be appointed to the role.

“Sir Paul has played a vital role in the growth of County Durham and I want to carry on his excellent work.”

Mrs Snowdon was one of the founder organisers of the Wear Valley Food Festival eight years ago.

In April the annual festival held at Auckland Castle attracted more than 20,000 visitors to Bishop Auckland.

The former teacher has also played a big part in the Butterwick Hospice’s attachment to Bishop Auckland and was a magistrate.

Mrs Snowdon, who lives near High Grange with her husband Keith, has been a deputy lieutenant since 2006 and succeeded Sir Paul at a ceremony at Auckland Castle last night.

There are 98 Lord Lieutenants covering regions of the United Kingdom who act as the monarch’s representatives.

They are responsible for arranging royal visits to the area and for keeping the royal household up to date with local issues.

The first Lord Lieutenants were appointed by Henry VIII with the job of raising an army when needed.

Sir Paul Nicholson, former chairman of the Vaux Group and Tyne and Wear Development Company, has been County Durham’s Lord Lieutenant since 1996.

Mrs Snowdon is not the only female Lord Lieutenant in the North East – Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, was appointed to the Northumberland role in 2009.

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