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The High Sheriff

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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 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 at an outdoor buffet recently by visiting High Court Judges and we learned that the backlog of cases being heard in the courts has built up to a considerable level which in turn is putting pressure on the prisons as offenders await trial. This situation is not going to change quickly and with the configuration of court and jury rooms being altered to maintain safe working it may be a while before normal operations resume. Along with our NHS and the stress points in supply chains caused by both Covid and Brexit it will be many months before equilibrium is regained and anxiety relieved. In the meantime, there is a greater need than ever to support each other be it at home or in the workplace.

On the 11th of June we were able to complete the High Sheriff’s Installation formalities in a special Evensong service at Blackburn Cathedral. Although still not allowed to sing, we were treated to some magnificent singing by the choir and some spirited organ playing. It was an uplifting experience which pointed to better times ahead and an opportunity to contemplate everything that we have gone through over the past 18 months.

A short while after writing this, I will be attending an informal reception with past High Sheriff’s to honour a Lancastrian who has spent most of the past 45 years supporting the Queen in various roles at the College of Arms culminating in him becoming Garter King of Arms before retiring this summer. Many of us will have seen him performing one of his last duties at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral where he read out the prince’s styles and titles as the coffin was lowered into the vault at St George’s chapel. We look forward to wishing Thomas Woodcock KCVO OStJ DL a long and restful retirement in Lancashire.

There has been an extremely positive response to the proposal to create a Business Membership Scheme at the Community Foundation for Lancashire. On September 28th there will be a launch event for Lancashire businesses where the CFL and existing supporters of the charity will speak about the benefits of being a part of a group of donors who are making a big difference to people’s lives in the county. More details will be published soon but if your business wants to secure a place at the event please call Rae Brooke, Chief Executive on 07515 328162 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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...