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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 ...

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 safe.

The launch of “Lancashire Investors in Community” took place at Browsholme Hall a few weeks ago and was a wonderful occasion for Lancashire businesses to hear about the work of the Community Foundation for Lancashire and my new initiative to create a membership group of enterprises that want to make a real difference to peoples’ lives at local level. The support received so far has been amazing and will already enable the CFL to reach so many more voluntary groups that need funds to work with the increasing number of people in need. A short while ago I visited Accrington Maundy Relief and experienced the hands-on effort being made by volunteers as they provide help and guidance to people who otherwise would lose the will to live.

My visit to HMP Wymott was my first opportunity to engage with the prison service on the ground and learn about their work to educate residents and prepare them for life outside. The enthusiasm of the teaching staff was tangible, and I had the opportunity to speak to a number of prisoners about how they benefitted from the learning and if this would improve their prospects. It is not all rosy and one gentleman expressed concern at being able to find a job outside while other were afraid of slipping back into old habits and lifestyles. The education required goes beyond academic and practical skills and that is before the need for accommodation is considered. This is an understandably complex area as not all prison leavers have home to go to. It is impossible to find work unless there is an identifiable address to give and despite the sterling efforts of forward-looking companies there is more to do to make sure ex-offenders feel  secure and that society cares enough to help them look forward not back to their old ways. There are, of course some prisoners whose release has to be considered an ongoing risk to the community and in the event that they are released, specific measures need to be employed, however there are a large majority whose offences are relatively minor and who seek fulfilment and security that was absent in their recent past and which many of us take for granted.

The Judges’ Service has now taken place in Preston and the proclamation made to confirm the appointment of Judges in Lancashire for another year. This may seem anachronistic at a time when there is a backlog of work to be undertaken but it serves to remind the Judiciary of the very responsible part they play along with the courts and Police Force in maintaining law and order.

The High Sheriff’s role is often diverse, and I had the pleasure of meeting a group of pilgrims from Kriya Arts camping overnight in Lancashire on their way to COP 26. They will perform plays in Glasgow and were putting on a brave face as they shrugged off the rain en route! At the Harris Museum one weekend, I had to re-learn the skill of keeping very still at a sitting for the Preston Portrait Challenge where the past High Sheriff and I had our portraits painted. Congratulations to Liam Dickinson who took first prize and capturing the High Sheriff in pensive mood!

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...