Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst was born in Northern Ireland in 1951. She is the eldest daughter of a family of eight. Her father was in the army and the family moved many times, living in Ireland, Germany, North Africa, Wiltshire, Yorkshire and Sussex. After a number of military schools, she was educated at a Convent in Kent and later as a mature student she gained a BA Hons in Art and Design. She married Philip Tolhurst in 1972 and has lived in Essex for 46 years. They have three children and eight grandchildren.
Mrs Tolhurst has been involved with the voluntary sector all her married life. She started the Danbury and Little Baddow fund-raising branch of the NSPCC, chaired the Prince’s Youth Business Trust in Essex, served as a Magistrate and was High Sheriff of the County in 2005-06. Since then she has worked voluntarily for the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood, been Vice-Chairman of the Governors of New Hall School and, until recently, served on the High Sheriffs’ National Council.
She remains Vice-President of the Essex Community Foundation, serves on Essex University Court, and is Chairman of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace in Essex. She has spent her married life championing the county, and was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, taking over from The Lord Petre KCVO DL, when he retired in August 2017.
On taking up her appointment she said: “It is a great privilege to represent the ancient and diverse County of Essex as Lord-Lieutenant and I hope that I can help promote Essex and its heritage; its business and charitable organisations and support the uniformed services”.