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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 ...

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 entered the Lancaster Priory for a service of thanksgiving. It was a wonderful prelude to proceedings with a choir from Blackburn providing a strong lead in the Hymns and performing the anthems conducted by the Director of Music John Robinson.

Everyone then took their places in the Shire Hall and the Under Sheriff read the proclamation after which Norroy and Ulster King of Arms was called upon to verify my shield after which I applied to the Constable of the castle to have the shield hung under the arms of our Monarch Queen Elizabeth. This tome honoured ceremony has been enacted for centuries and I was told on good authority that I am the 603rd High Sheriff of Lancashire. It was a small piece of history unique to our county and a great privilege to be a part of Lancashire’s heritage.

There are many facets to the High Sheriff’s role and this month I attended a group forum with young people with special educational needs. Their welcome was heart-warming, and I am learning a lot about the challenges they face.

Attending the BBC Radio Lancashire “Make a Difference” awards in Blackpool was both a sobering and uplifting occasion. This was an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary feats undertaken by members of our society form 12 years old to 70. So many stories were told about individuals and groups whose purpose was to make lives better for others despite often suffering from illness and disability themselves. Next month I will launch my own “High Sheriff Awards” which will be given out at the end of my term in March 2022. I know already that it is going to be almost impossible to pick the winners!

One of my key areas of interest is the efforts that are made to help prison leavers to find employment through which to build a new life and contribute to their families and society as a whole. This is an extremely complex subject, but this is no reason to pass it by. I have just had a meeting with James Timpson from Timpsons to explore the work he and his team have been doing to enable willing ex-offenders develop a career. Although there are not many businesses working in this area, I am keen to see where I can make a difference and engage with Lancashire prison Governors to see what can be done with the help of the New Futures Network. Over the next 6 months I will build my knowledge with a view to determining how I and likeminded businesses are able to help.

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...