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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 ...

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 to experience a conversation in three dimensions! This is a wonderful organisation with great reach into the remoter corners of our county and I am looking forward to visiting many of the groups and communities with which they work. Funding is very much a matter of moment for many charitable organisations, and I am hoping to encourage a new level of support for them this year from the Lancashire business community. Our neighbours to the north have a vibrant corporate membership scheme and I am keen that we take learnings from Cumbria and create a Lancashire initiative which will bind enterprises together in helping to make lives better for people in need. Effective employees come from happy communities and it will be another route to reaching those parts of our districts that are often forgotten too easily.

Many people ask what the High Sheriff actually does. If we were living in the late 13th century the answer would be, quite a lot! I would be Judging cases in monthly courts and acting as a law enforcement officer. I would also be responsible for collecting taxes on behalf of the Monarch and if there was a shortfall the High Sherriff had to make up the difference! From the early 1300s more of the High Sheriff’s powers were centralised with the exchequer collecting taxes and the establishment of itinerant Justices and Assizes. As recently as the 19th century, the High Sheriff’s responsibilities for police, prisons and Crown property were transferred to statutory bodies with surviving powers codified in the Sheriff’s act of 1887.

Today, as well as pursuing my community interests I will attend Royal visits to the county and support her Majesty’s High Court Judges when they are on circuit. The High Sheriff also cultivates a supportive relationship with the Police and emergency services. It is also important to understand how the probation and prison services operate as well as how other agencies work on crime prevention. The role is best described as supporting the principal organs of the Constitution, they being the Royal Family, Judiciary, law enforcers, emergency services, local authorities and recognised church and faith groups.

So, what does the Under Sheriff do I hear you ask? In legal and procedural matters, the Under Sheriff will advise the High Sheriff, leaving he or she in a position to concentrate on their stated community agenda and perform ceremonial duties. The advice and counsel from the Under Sheriff are vital ingredients in easing the transition between High Sheriff’s each year. Mr David Cam DL carries out this duty in Lancashire with aplomb and is always a listening ear when shrieval matters get complicated!

I have another 4 weeks of planning and consultations before we are aloud to mingle in large groups. From July my weeks will become busier and there will be new stories to tell. Next month I will explain what the post nominal DL means. Answers on a postcard please!

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...