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Richard believes in a Norfolk that can inspire  

RichardJewson450In the third article of a series on Christian stewardship with high profile figures across Norfolk, John Myhill met Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, chairman of Archant and of the Council of the UEA.

Richard has the kindly spoken honesty I would expect from his Baptist upbringing (morning prayers every day and chapel twice on Sundays).  He has much in common with famous Victorian Quaker entrepreneurs, so it felt right that we were able to share in a silent Quaker Meeting before lunch. 
I believe his idea of Stewardship depends on preparing the younger generation to take on the work and responsibility that will soon fall upon their shoulders.
Richard Jewson is Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, representing the Queen on numerous important occasions.  He remains chairman of Archant (an involvement of 31 years), and has numerous other public and business duties - “people keep asking me to do things”, he says.  But he is a very relaxed human being, always seeking to bring out the best in others.
He is very much a country person, with a keen involvement in the acres of trees he has planted, and a great concern for the plight of the ash tree, and the diseases of other species.  He likes to eat fresh vegetables from his garden and enjoys gardening.
As titular head of the Norfolk judiciary, he is involved in recruitment, training and discipline of Magistrates (even Magistrates get it wrong sometimes and need to be judged). He attends meetings of the Magistrates Association and is keen on ideas of Restorative Justice
He is currently leading the “Norfolk can Inspire” initiative, which sprang from a report by Sheelin Knollys: “Not without Hope”.  Young people (16 to 25) learn about the scheme online, they are then put in touch with organisations which will assist them through voluntary work to paid employment, and each young person is supported by a personal mentor.
As Richard says: “Life is about networking and getting organisations to work together. Norfolk is a very special place because of the willingness of people to volunteer and be helpful.”
As a young man, Richard went to Cambridge to study to become a doctor, like his uncle.  He passed his anatomy and physiology in two years, but decided to spend his third year studying economics, from which he realised that it was not a science.
Instead, he learnt business in the family firm, sufficiently successfully to be invited to join the board of Eastern Counties Newspaper Group (now Archant).  This development is crucial to understanding his current belief that jobs are more essential than medicine for young people growing up.  The young are our future and thus Stewardship is about providing them with opportunities.
Richard is not interested in ostentation, and has strong views on the decline of mass media to the lowest common denominator.  He used the quiet of the Quaker Meeting, as he would use any similar quietness, to think of people he knows who are suffering  - Quakers call this “holding them in the Light”. 
He has no doubt about the existence of a creator God (the wonders of the Universe and of the human brain are scientific evidence enough for him), but believes that tolerance is the most essential part of any religion.
All this enables him to participate in and enjoy many diverse forms of worship, although he is happiest with the familiar hymns and prayers of his youth.
His family, (wife, four children and grandchildren from 2 to 17) are clearly the first third of his life, followed by paid business work and public (unpaid) responsibilities, as equal second and third.  He is an orderly, organised man with interesting ideas about all kinds of subjects (like the health dangers of sugar): “full of prejudices” he says.  “Reflective and thoughtful” I would call it.

Pictured above is Richard Jewson (picture courtesy of Archant).
Click below to read the previous articles in this series
George Szirtes and Clarissa Upchurch

Richard Bacon

Hilary Cox

Rupert Read

Goff Hope

William Armstrong

Richard Jewson
Henry and Ski Cator
Paddy Seligman

Paddy Seligman

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