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The Office of High Sheriff of Lancashire

The High Sheriff of Lancashire has ancient origins and is personally appointed by the Queen in her Right as Duke of Lancaster. The office, as Keeper of the Queens Peace, is unpaid and held for one year.

MORE ABOUT THE OFFICE OF HIGH SHERIFF ...

My year as High Sheriff did not start as expected. Under normal circumstances the installation would have been carried out formally on April 11th at County Hall in Preston but due to the pandemic restrictions this was not possible, as was the case for my predecessor Catherine Penny. Plan B was to recognise the rules governing church services and include the signing of my declaration in a morning service at Blackburn Cathedral, but it was decided that this would be unwise so early in the phased relaxation of the lockdown.

And so, to Plan C which was to have a socially distanced declaration in our garden at home with just the Under Sheriff and my Magistrate present (pictured). We plan to complete the formalities at a special Evensong service in July at which two Commissioners will witness my signed declaration before signing the writ which is then returned to Her Majesty the Queen. This ceremony is carried out in satisfaction of the Sheriff’s Act of 1887 and other traditions which are unique to the Palatine of Lancaster. The office of High Sheriff extends back through 1000 years and is referred to in 27 clauses in the Magna Carta of 1215 and it is a great privilege to be a small part of Lancashire’s history.

The primary responsibilities of the High Sherriff are to uphold the dignity of the Crown and support the judiciary as well as being available to celebrate all the good works that take place in our county, many of them unseen. My main concern for the next 11 months will be to learn more about what it is like to experience deprivation and the hopelessness that so often results in crime. I have spent the last month meeting organisations online that work with communities to help people lead better lives and find fulfilment. Society’s support of those in need is going to become increasingly important as we start to feel the long-term effects of the past year on health and the economy. I have already discovered the increase in pressure on food banks and homelessness is an ever-present issue that needs a resolution. Also of great concern is the matter of how ex-offenders feel when they leave prison only to re-offend through a loss of dignity and trust in a society that will often only see their past as a picture of their true character. This is another subject that I intend to understand more fully during my term.

I have just had a conversation with two directors of a splendid project to create an outdoor Heritage Museum south of Preston which will celebrate some of the history behind technologies that have been developed to support unique industries in the North West. I expect to meet many more people who are working to make Lancashire special, and this is one of the more pleasurable aspects of the High Sheriff’s day to day role in promoting our pride in our county.

On Sunday April 18th Anne and I attended a Thanksgiving Service for the life of Prince Philip. It was a fitting remembrance of a gentleman who gave so much during his long life and was so dedicated to Her Majesty the Queen. While it is a sadness that the Duke of Edinburgh will not witness her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee next year there will be a celebration of the most extraordinary reign and a Monarch who has been the bedrock of our British way of life.

High Sheriff's Year - October

Early in October Anne and I attended the Beating Retreat at Fulwood Barracks as guest of Colonel Miller and his team. There is nothing more rousing than a marching band and the musicians performed immaculately making us all feel so proud of our armed forces. Whether it’s the army, navy or air force, there is a diversity of roles to perform and there are careers to take up at many levels. The social good provided by the army during the pandemic should not be forgotten with multiple examples of absolute commitment to keeping the citizens of our country...

High Sheriff's Year - September

The day of the High Sheriff’s Shield Hanging at Lancaster Castle finally arrived on September 3rd. Headed by mounted police with ceremonial uniforms and banners I processed accompanied by Senior Police representatives, my Police Cadets, the Under Sheriff, Judges and Norroy and Ulster King of Arms. We had been preceded by the Honorary Recorder of Lancaster with County officials and the Mayor and the Lord Lieutenant with Lady Shuttleworth. The Ecclesiastical procession including my Chaplain The Very Reverend Peter Howell-Jones brought up the rear as we...

High Sheriff's Year - August

Earlier this summer I had the privilege of presenting the British Citizen’s Award to Cdr Derek Scrivener who has spent 28 years supporting the Sea Cadets in Fleetwood and at 93 years old “Scriv” is a shining example of how the efforts of a dedicated individual can make a difference to so many people’s lives. The BCA medal is only awarded to 25 recipients bi-annually and is known as the “Peoples Award”. The event was attended by friends, family and Sea Cadets old and new who had many stories to tell about the gentleman who inspired them to do greater...

High Sheriff's Year - July

My column is becoming more and more like a commentary on the pandemic as the months roll by. I was hoping to share my experience of visiting two of the Prince’s Trust groups but all of the dates where cancelled due to ongoing concern about the transmission of Covid with virtual presentations hastily arranged. While this may be frustrating it is also encouraging that people and groups throughout the county are taking measures into their own hands to keep everyone as safe as possible while the rate of infection gradually subsides. Anne and I were hosted...

High Sheriff's Year - June

Back in 2005 I was asked by the Lancashire Lord Lieutenant to become a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) and I will confess that at the time I knew little of what the role would entail. The office of Lord Lieutenant is military in origin and said to date back to the reign of Henry VIII. The office holder was responsible for the maintenance of order and all military measures necessary locally for defence. It was not until 1569 that provision was made for the appointment of DLs. As Deputies we assist the Lord Lieutenant in upholding the dignity of the Crown as he...

High Sheriff's Year - May

When I took up the appointment as High Sheriff I was told by the Under Sherriff that the year would start quietly. This, I thought would be a good time to start putting dates in the diary for all manner of meetings by Zoom, Teams, telephone and just maybe face to face. There is no doubt that the online meetings have been an eye opener with no travel required and business conducted at a far greater pace but last week I had my first “real” meeting with Directors of the Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside. It was a giddy moment to be able...

High Sheriff's Year - April

My year as High Sheriff did not start as expected. Under normal circumstances the installation would have been carried out formally on April 11th at County Hall in Preston but due to the pandemic restrictions this was not possible, as was the case for my predecessor Catherine Penny. Plan B was to recognise the rules governing church services and include the signing of my declaration in a morning service at Blackburn Cathedral, but it was decided that this would be unwise so early in the phased relaxation of the lockdown. And so, to Plan C which was to...