High Sheriff in Nomination for 2020/21: Tony Walker CBE DL

Tony has worked in the car industry for over 40 years. After completing a degree in Psychology at Newcastle University he started his automotive career working for Ford Motor Company in Industrial Relations.

He joined Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) in 1990 as one of the first employees, playing a fundamental role in the establishment and development of the company.

From 2001 to 2010, he worked at Toyota Motor Europe in Brussels, holding various European level positions, including Human Resources Vice President and Production Planning & Project Director.

From 2010, he was Deputy Managing Director of TMUK, retiring at the end of 2017. Currently, he is Managing Director of Toyota Motor Europe’s London Office.

Tony is actively involved in national automotive affairs: he is President of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and is Chairman of the Business Environment and Skills Group of the Automotive Council.

Tony is also engaged in promoting community and business links: he is a board member of YMCA Derbyshire, a Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire and is active in the local community where he lives in the Ashbourne area.

Tony has Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Derby and Nottingham Trent and is a Fellow of Burton and South Derbyshire College. In the 2018 New Year’s Honours list Tony was awarded a CBE for “Services to the Motor Industry”.

High Sheriff in Nomination for 2021/22: Louise Potter DL FRSA HonMUniversity of Derby FIH

Louise Potter is a hotelier and businesswoman and has devoted much of her energy to promoting the Buxton International Opera Festival and has also advanced Buxton as a ‘university town’. 

In 2002, she won the accolade of Midlands Business Woman of the Year.

From the age of 12, Louise held a strong ambition to own her own hotel. 

In 1966, she gained a General Catering Diploma at High Peak College and then gained a qualification in management accounts at Ealing Technical College. 

In 1971 she was appointed the first female General Manager of Grand Metropolitan Hotels. 

Three years later, she was given the opportunity to manage the Moorside Hotel, Disley in Cheshire where she worked for eight years.  This was a great success and so she and her husband decided in 1982 to sell their house, raise capital to match a bank loan and buy The Old Hall Hotel Buxton, which was in a very sorry state. 

Over a period of 25 years, she invested the profit in renovating the historic property.  In 2008, she sold the hotel to the developer of the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa as the Old Hall was integral to the success of the development.  This is due to open in 2019.

In 2001 she opened No 6 The Square Tea Rooms and Accommodation which she runs today.

Louise has done much to support the work of the former High Peak College, now known as the University of Derby College, Buxton.  Thirty years after leaving the College as a student, she returned as a member of its governing body and was awarded an honorary degree in 2004. 

Louise is on the board of the Buxton International Opera Festival and sponsors the Festival each year.  For 10 years, she chaired the Friends of the Buxton Festival and is now a trustee.

Currently, she is on the Board of the High Peak Theatre Trust and is Treasurer of the Kinder Choirs Trust and a Patron of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.

Louise has two daughters, Sally and Emma, who manage the Old Hall hotel for Danubius Hotels.

In her downtime, Louise enjoys opera, art, gardening, archaeology and walking.

He is a member of the Derby Renaissance Board and is a past President of the Southern Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, Southern Derbyshire Pro Help and the Derby and District Law Society. 

High Sheriff in Nomination for 2022/23: Michael Copestake

Mike is a highly-experienced and respected corporate lawyer, having been senior partner of Freeths’ derby office from 1995 to 2016.  He will be the first solicitor to become High Sheriff of Derbyshire.

He is a Director of Copemann Ashby Ltd and Turning Point, an East Midlands-based Business Angel fund. 

Since November 2015, he has been Chair of Enterprise for Education which is an organisation dedicated to getting businesses into schools to help them with things like CV writing, interview technics and career talks.

From 2005 to 2011, he was Chair of Marketing Derby and continued as the Vice-Chair until 2018. 

He is a member of the Derby Renaissance Board and is a past President of the Southern Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, Southern Derbyshire Pro Help and the Derby and District Law Society. 

Mike lives in Turnditch and is married with three children.  Other than this family his interests include squash, cricket and skiing.