Retired solicitor William Wyldbore-Smith will become Wiltshire’s new High Sheriff on Friday.

Candidates for the ceremonial position of High Sherriff are appointed by the queen and rank among the country’s top dignitaries.

Historically High Sherriffs were known as Shire Reeves and part of their job was to collect tax on behalf on the reigning monarch.

On March 14 Mr Wyldbore-Smith, of Bremhill, Calne, was included on an official list hand pricked by the Queen with a silver bodkin during an ancient ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The ceremony on Friday will make his post official and he will declare his intention to take custom and charge of the county in accordance with the 1887 Sheriffs Act.

Mr Wyldbore-Smith, 65, has been a solicitor for 40 years and in the last four years before his retirement he worked for the law firm Thrings.

He is keen to use his new position to encourage the work of volunteers and organisations whose work makes a difference to the local area.

At the end of the year some of these could also be picked for a High Sherriff’s award.

Mr Wyldbore-Smith said: “I think taking charge of the county means go out and find what’s going on and if it’s good celebrate it. It’s an enormous honour and privilege to do it for the year.

“People making something of their lives is always something I’ve been concerned with so I’m looking forward to working on that end of things with the community.

“It’s going to be a bit of a voyage of discovery- it’s important as High Sherriff not to get tied down with one charity but to get around the county.”

Mr Wyldbore-Smith is already a trustee for Youth Action Wiltshire and is also involved with homeless charity Alabare based in Salisbury.

He will be supported in his role throughout the year by his wife Prisca, a trained barrister, who will help him to host guests at their country home.

Mr Wyldbore-Smith, who moved to Wiltshire with his family in 1984, said: “It will be a team effort- behind every man is senior management.

“After the declaration on Friday we will come back here and have a nice party with a few family friends and we will do quite a bit of entertainment here.”