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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 ...

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 things.

The following weekend, yet another appointment was cancelled through safety concerns and like so many cancelled weddings I really felt for the organisers of the Family Fun Day that was to take place at Duxbury Park Golf Course Gardens. So many of us are having our resilience tested to the hilt but tomorrow is another day!

In Lancashire we have both a new Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner. Two weeks ago, the PCC Andrew Snowden invited me to a discussion on the subject of Retail Crime and Shopworker Abuse. There is no doubt that the pandemic changed the nature of crime in stores and now that restrictions have eased, incidents are on the rise again.  I’m relieved to learn that shopworker abuse has reduced, with the easing of restrictions. But it’s clear that the issue of mask wearing remains a hot topic.  At Booths, for the time being, we are still encouraging the wearing of masks in stores, but it’s not mandatory. As we all make our personal decisions around wearing of masks, I do hope that everyone remains respectful of personal choices.   

Just as I thought things were becoming more “normal” a meeting was cancelled this week due to the dreaded “ping”.  It’s a stark reminder that the virus is still present despite the welcome return wider freedoms. I was due to meet a member of the New Futures Network team this week and learn about the work they are doing but Ping prevented us going ahead. The NFN is a specialist part of HM Prison and Probation Service which brokers partnerships between prisons and employers. I hope that we can reconvene soon as the work of the NFN has never been more relevant to the employment issues being experienced by the food, hospitality and distribution industries.

Planning has now started for the Judges’ Service which is held in October to mark the beginning of the Judicial calendar. It’s a bit like school really, with Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter, and Trinity making up the four terms each year. The service is preceded and followed by a procession to and from the Sessions House and this ceremonial event has been enacted for centuries. The High Sheriff works with the Recorder and clergy to create a service worthy of this solemn occasion.

On Friday September 3rd I will hang my shield in Lancaster Castle. The “Shield Hanging” is unique to Lancashire and more will be revealed in next month’s column.

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...