Mary Case knows all about being as busy as a bee, and is already bracing herself for one of the busiest years of her life when she becomes the new High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight.

“It is an honour to become the High Sheriff, but I intend to continue as a professional bee keeper because I have a business to run,”

Mary will succeed Nick Hayward, and will carry out her many duties until April 2014, combining them with her work as a farmer’s wife and one of the Island’s leading producers of honey.

“It is an honour to become the High Sheriff, but I intend to continue as a professional bee keeper because I have a business to run,” she pointed out. “I have scaled back the number of hives I have, from 80 down to 50. But I shall still be at the Farmers’ Market on a Friday, because I feel it is important to help keep it going. So if anyone needs to ‘twist my arm’ on Fridays, they know exactly where to find me!”

She continued: “I think I shall be doing beekeeping at some strange times during my time as High Sheriff. Maybe I will have to get up an hour earlier each day. I know there will be a time when I carry out a High Sheriff engagement, then get changed quickly in the loo and look after the bees on the way home – you can be sure of that.

“I am sure the bees will love seeing me with all my make-up on. But I won’t be wearing perfume or hairspray because bees hate the smell of both and get a bit grumpy.”

Mary has earmarked several projects to support during her year in office, and also plans to continue with the Mock Trials for students, that were started by Nick Hayward and have proved extremely popular and given teenagers an insight into the work of judges, barristers and jurors.

Born Mary Phillips at Compton Farm, she spent all summer as a young girl with an ever-changing group of friends, who went to the farm caravanning and camping with their parents. As a result she wants to highlight tourism on the Island over the next 12 months, saying: “It is good what people are already doing to try to lengthen the tourist season on the Island. There are some wonderful events already, like the Walking and Cycling Festivals, and of course the music festivals. But if there is anything I can do to promote the Island, then I will be only too pleased to do so.”

Mary lives at Limerstone with husband Geoff, and have some 500 sheep on their farm. Combining her workload during the lambing season with those of High Sheriff, she is already anticipating dawn to dusk duties next spring.

She is also an avid gardener, but is quick to point out: “You won’t see many flowers around my garden. I like mowing the grass and growing vegetables. I have an orchard with 20 different varieties of apples, which I also take to the Farmers’ Market. That is one of my big hobbies.”