High Sheriffs Awards
National Opera at Venue Cymru, Llandudno
National Opera were performing all week in North Wales and I was very
kindly invited by Ruth Evans of WNO and Richard Thomas of Mostyn Estates
to watch Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. On this occasion my companion was
Jonathan Major, a former High Sheriff of Clwyd, who explained to me the
plot line of the opera which is all sung in Russian. We were greeted by
the WNO Administrative Team for drinks, canapés and a short talk before
taking our seats in the magnificent auditorium for a very special and
Citizenship Ceremony in Llandudno
We welcomed three new British citizens on this occasion who originally
hailed from Poland, South Africa and China. They are a credit to their
families and friends as the path to attaining full citizenship status is
long and challenging.
Dinner Party at RAF
were invited by the Station Commander Group Captain Nick Tucker-Lowe and
his wife Nicola Thunhust to join them and other guests for dinner at The
White House in Caergeiliog, their official residence. It was a fascinating
evening, learning all about life at RAF Valley and the extraordinary
levels of fitness and skill required by the pilots themselves to endure
the extreme G-forces whilst flying the fighter jets. Nick and Nicola were
extremely hospitable and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
Prince’s Trust in Wales Breakfast and Networking Event
As I am supporting the Prince’s Trust in Wales during my year
of office, I was invited to join Phil Jones, Director of the Prince’s
Trust Cymru, and his hard-working team and a wide range of existing and
potential partners to an event in order to hear about their plans to
support more young people in North Wales to improve their lives through
education, training and employment. The aim is to increase the number in
Wales from 3000 to 6000 a year. Three young Welsh people told us how their
lives have been transformed and turned around with help from The Trust and
to hear first-hand their own life stories made a huge impact on the entire
audience. It was a very uplifting occasion.
From the fast-paced world of the police to
the more sedate world of the church, I attended the 150th Anniversary
Service of St Bartholomew’s Church in Sealand at the invitation of
Reverend Danny Evans, Vicar of Broughton and Sealand. The church first
opened its doors to the people of Sealand on 15th October 1867 and was
built as a spiritual support for the community of the newly-reclaimed area
of Sealand which straddles the English-Welsh border. Today’s service
reflected the one in 1867 but also looked forward to the future role of
the church within the community. The current Bishop of St Asaph and the
Dean of Chester officiated as did those in the roles back in the 19th
century. Refreshments were then on offer under the canopied tent in the
pretty church garden.
From Sealand I made my way to Prestatyn to attend the Civic Service of
the Mayor Gerry Frobisher that was held at the historic St Melyds Church
in Meliden. There were no less than 31 mayors in attendance and I have
never seen quite so many gold chains in my life! It was a lovely occasion
with many young people from the Young Dragons comprising cadets from Rhyl
Sea, Prestatyn Army, St John Ambulance, Police, Fire, Scouts and Guides.
The service was led by Reverend John Harvey. Thereafter we enjoyed a
delicious tea at the neighbouring Red Lion.
A change of tempo and scene for our next
assignment. My husband David and I were invited by the Prestatyn Police
Force to join them on their Ride Along Scheme to witness for ourselves
exactly what they do whilst on duty in the station, the van and on foot
patrol. The purpose of the scheme is to provide an opportunity to gain a
practical insight into the nature of police work during routine patrol
activities that are carried out in public by North Wales Police’s Local
Policing Service front line officers.
We duly arrived
at Prestatyn Police station and were provided with high visibility jackets
by PCSO Dave Bill in preparation for our patrol in the van and on foot.
For the first part of the evening Dave and his fellow PCSO Paris drove us
around their ‘patch’ that covers the whole of Prestatyn and stretches to
Rhuddlan and Dyserth. I was particularly keen to view Morfa’s parkland in
Prestatyn that is going to be restored to its former glory by a group of
young people under the supervision of PCSO Dave Bill as part of the Clwyd
Crimebeat scheme, supported by the High Sheriff.
For the second
part of the evening, after visiting the officers at Rhuddlan police
station, we joined PC Angela Seymour and her PCSO colleague in the van and
headed back to Prestatyn whereupon we witnessed a ‘blue light’ incident in
a car park! We were so impressed by the hard work and dedication to duty
of all the PCs and PCSOs we met that evening and feel incredibly fortunate
that we have such strong policing in our area and can feel safe and
The Legal Service, the
most important event of the year for Welsh High Sheriffs, took place this
year at Llandaff. Next year it will be the turn of Bangor in Gwynedd. It
is a service for all those concerned with the administration of justice in
Wales. This was my first visit to the Cathedral and it very much lived up
to expectation. Together with the High Court and Circuit Judges and QCs we
assembled at Prebendal House next to the Cathedral to prepare for the
Legal and Civic Procession. The judges were all resplendent in their full
ceremonial robes and full-bottomed wigs. The Cathedral was full to the
brim and the singing utterly magnificent.
After the service the entire congregation adjourned to the historic
Cathedral School for refreshments and mingling.
A weekend away in Cardiff to attend the Welsh Legal Service
at Llandaff Cathedral. On Saturday evening Gilbert Lloyd, High Sheriff of
South Glamorgan arranged for all 8 Welsh High Sheriffs, their consorts and
a number of Under-Sheriffs and High Sheriffs in Nomination to attend an
elegant black-tie dinner at the majestic Mansion House in Cardiff.
Gilbert’s guests also included Morfudd Meredith the Lord Lieutenant of
South Glamorgan and her husband Alan and Chaplain John Rowlands and his
wife Catryn. It was a really enjoyable evening and it was made all the
more atmospheric as we had to dine by candlelight when the power failed
throughout the building!
My husband David and I, along with numerous other
guests, were invited to Deeside Engine Plant by Toyota UK who were
celebrating 25 years of engine manufacturing in Wales. The speakers
included the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates
AM and the UK Government Minister for Wales, GutoBebb MP who reiterated
what a huge success Toyota’s presence in Deeside has been for the local
economy and our work force and how delighted they are to see Toyota
expanding still further in our part of North East Wales.
After the formal
part of the presentation and speeches concluded we were given a wonderful
buffet lunch that included some delightful Japanese delicacies amongst the
British fare. Subsequently around 12 of us were given a guided tour of the
Plant itself which was hugely impressive and efficient.
This was my third year attending the Lady High
Sheriffs’ Luncheon in London which was held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club
in Knightsbridge. The lunch is an opportunity for present and past Lady
High Sheriffs, together with those in nomination and Council members, to
share experiences, ideas and encouragement. This year the lunch was
organized by Council member Juliet Westoll, High Sheriff of Cumbria in
2012 and our guest speaker was Clare Hensman, Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria
and previous High Sheriff of Cumbria and a past Council member. It was a
delightful lunch with 34 of us in attendance with a strong Welsh
contingent including Stephanie Catherall, High Sheriff in Nomination for
Clwyd in 2019, Sian Hope, High Sheriff of Gwynedd, Kit Ellis, High Sheriff
in Nomination for Gwynedd in 2018, Susan Jones, High Sheriff in Nomination
for Gwynedd in 2019 and Council member Anne Morgan, High Sheriff of Mid
Glamorgan in 2008 who offers us all so much good advice.
was unable to attend the citizenship ceremony in Mold today but I gather
from Brian Lloyd, Chairman of Flintshire County Council that it was a very
special day, as always, for the new British citizens.
University Court Meeting, Wrexham
In my role as current High
Sheriff of Clwyd I was invited to join the University Court to attend their
third such meeting which is intended to provide a channel of communication
between the University and the wider community it serves. It provides an
opportunity for the University to inform attendees of the current and future
work of the University and, in turn, it benefits from gaining a better
understanding of the needs of the organizations and the interests they represent
and establishing a network of critical friends. Membership of the court comprise
representation from The Lieutenancy and Shrievalty, AMs and MPs, Faith
communities, HE, FE and schools, Public sector organizations, local Government,
Business and Industry, the Media, Arts and Creative Industries, the third sector
and senior members of the University staff. Both the Chancellor Trevor Jones and
the Vice-Chancellor Professor Maria Hinfelaar gave excellent presentations and
then opened up the meeting to general debate which was lively and innovative and
gave all attendees plenty of food for thought about the future of our thriving
Dangerpoint AGM at North Wales Fire and Rescue
This was my second visit to a Trustees meeting and
it was very encouraging to see that the Dangerpoint Centre is thriving, ably
headed up by Centre ManagerJulie Evans and her fantastic team. Hundreds of
schoolchildren from Clwyd, Gwynedd and Cheshire pass through their doors every
term and learn about the potential dangers that surround us in the home,
workplace and countryside.
Meeting at Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council
This took place with Chief Executive Office Helen Wilkinson and Dave Evans
of North Wales Police who manages the Crimebeat and PACT Trusts to put plans
into place for the forthcoming High Sheriff’s Awards Ceremony that will take
place on March 16th 2018.
Meeting with Dr Helen
Paterson, CEO of Wrexham CC
I attended a second enjoyable and
instructive meeting with Helen who is, sadly, leaving us for pastures new in
November. It will be Wrexham’s loss as she has made a major contribution to
community and civic life in the area during her 6 years’ tenure.
Welsh National Opera Concert at St Asaph Cathedral
invited by Ruth Evans, Producer for WNO and her wonderful team, to attend the
performance of the Magnificat in four different versions, by J S Bach, William
Mathias, Paul Mealor and Oliver Tarney. The concert formed part of the 45th
North Wales International Music Festival.
The choral singing by the
Festival Community Chorus was unbelievably accomplished and brilliant Conductor
Robert Guy led a range of hugely talented young musicians in his New Sinfonia
Orchestra. Stars from the WNO were Soprano Katy Thomson, Mezzo Rebecca
Afonwy-Jones, Tenor Huw Llywelyn and Baritone Dyfed Wyn Evans. An added
dimension was brought to the evening by Bishop Gregory Cameron who interviewed
Paul Mealor, Oliver Tarney and Rhiannon Mathias about the creative process as
part of the concert.
Citizens Advice Denbighshire AGM
I met Lesley Powell, Chief
Executive Officer, of Citizens Advice Denbighshire some months ago and she was
kind enough to invite me to address the staff and volunteers at their AGM at the
New Pavilion in Rhewl and to present some certificates to those who had gone the
extra mile in their work over the past year. I was warmly greeted by Trustee
Board Chair, Alastair Morgan, on arrival and it was altogether an extremely
enjoyable and informative morning. I was so impressed by the professional and
enthusiastic outlook of the whole organization. The staggering sum of £440,000
is the monetary value of the time given by volunteers in the Citizens Advice
offices in Denbighshire this year! In all 7054 clients with 8901 enquiries were
helped, 360 households were lifted out of fuel poverty and 65 clients facing
repossession received help in court. The list goes on.
Crimebeat Meeting, St Asaph
I attended another constructive
meeting with my fellow committee members to discuss Crimebeat projects
throughout the county in Rhyl, Prestatyn, Abergele, Mold, Holywell, Wrexham and
other areas in need of support.
Royal Visit by The Earl of Wessex, Theatr Clwyd
were honoured to receive a private visit to Clwyd by His Royal Highness The Earl
of Wessex today. His day comprised visits to Deeside College, Soughton Hall and
Theatr Clwyd and I was delighted to attend the latter event together with my
husband David. In attendance were the Lord Lieutenant, Harry Fetherstonthaugh,
Brian Lloyd, Chair of Flintshire County Council and his wife Jean, David Hanson,
MP for Delyn and all the theatre staff, ranging from Tamara Harvey, Artistic
Director and Liam Evans-Ford, Executive Director, on the management side to the
costume makers and actors who were in practice for forthcoming performances of
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Uncle Vanya.
Wrexham Citizenship Ceremony at the Guildhall
There were a range of new citizens from France, The Philippines, India,
Poland and the first candidate ever in Wrexham from Eritrea taking their oaths
of allegiance today. Mayor John Pritchard of Wrexham Council and his Mayoress
wife Ann were in attendance together with Andy Williams, Deputy Mayor and Ruth
Cook, county Registrar.
Llandudno Citizenship Ceremony
Today’s ceremony took place
in the smaller council chamber as there were only three candidates. All
originally from the Philippines, they were delightful company and Brian Cossey,
the Chair of Conwy County Council, Suzanne Fisher and her deputy Haydn and I
chatted to them at length after the official proceedings had taken place to
learn about their long journey to becoming British citizens.
Celebrations to welcome the Commonwealth Games Baton in Flintshire
In April 2018 the Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast,
Australia and we were invited to join Flintshire’s celebrations to help raise
the profile of the games. Hosted by Colin Everett, Chief Executive Officer of
Flintshire County Council and Aaron Shotton, Leader of the Council, we gathered
together to welcome The Queen’s Baton at Theatr Clwyd on its relay journey from
Buckingham Palace to Australia. The relay will span 388 days, 71 countries and
more than 200,000 miles before reaching the Gold Coast.
including our very own Jade Jones were in attendance and the air was buzzing
with excitement despite the slightly inclement autumn drizzle. Afterwards there
were music and refreshments in the Theatre for all attendees.
Ruthin Citizenship Ceremony
but nonetheless just as special ceremony took place today in Ruthin Registry
Office for three new British citizens.
Ceremony in Ruthin for the Royal Welsh 1st Battalion
2011 Denbighshire County Council awarded the Freedom of the County to the Royal
Welsh Regiment in recognition of the eminent services rendered to the County and
for their courage and bravery in the execution of their duty, both at home and
overseas. Today the Battalion returned to Denbighshire and marched from the
Cenotaph on Wynnstay Road through the streets of Ruthin with a magnificent
Parade taking place in the Town Square. It was led by Major James Waters and CSM
Stephen Smith and the crowds especially enjoyed watching the Regimental Goat who
took pride of place. It was a wonderful atmospheric occasion as the streets were
brimming with cheering onlookers.
The inspection took place in front of
Councillor Pete Prendergast, Chairman of Denbighshire County Council, Colonel
Nick Lock OBE, Colonel of the Regiment’s Representative, Colonel John Williams
MC Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Councillor Jim Bryan, Mayor of Ruthin and
Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council. We were all
treated to refreshments in the splendid surroundings of the Assembly Rooms at
the Town Hall afterwards.
29th July 2017
Bishop of St Asaph
Reception and Charity Performance at St Asaph Cathedral
Our host for
this glorious event was The Right Reverend Dr Gregory Cameron who invited my
husband David and I amongst many others to a Reception and Opera Through the
Ages Charity performance to benefit the foundation and work of The Guardians of
St Asaph and St Kentigern Hospice Others present included Lord Barry Jones and
his wife, Lady Janet Jones, MP David Jones and his wife Sarah and previous High
Sheriffs of Clwyd, David Meredith-Jones and Jim O’Toole.
We were treated
to a wonderful production, arranged by Conductor John Hosking who lead the two
solo Sopranos, Helena Leonard and Olivia Hunt, the St Asaph Cathedral Voluntary
Choir and Graham Eccles on the Organ. The acoustics in the Cathedral are perfect
for a performance such as this and it was a really beautiful evening.
Bishop of St Asaph talked to us about the Guardians who give support to the
Cathedral to preserve, maintain and develop its music, heritage and welcome to
visitors and raise additional funds for the work of St Kentigern Hospice. I
would definitely like to spread the word about their work and encourage others
to sign up as members.
29th July 2017
Llandudno Citizenship Ceremony
This was my second visit to Llandudno
Town Hall and we welcomed three new British citizens who originally hailed from
Germany, South Africa and America. It was a lovely ceremony conducted by County
Registrar Suzanne Fisher and her deputy Haydn Oliver. Brian Cossey, Chair or
Conwy Borough Council and I were invited to say a few words.
27th July 2017
PACT Meeting, Colwyn Bay
Unfortunately the meeting took place at the
same time as the Prince’s Trust Presentation so I had no alternative but to
offer my apologies.
27th July 2017
Prince’s Trust Presentation at North Wales
Training, Colwyn Bay
I was particularly pleased to be invited to
attend the presentation event for the second Team Programme by the Prince’s
Trust in Wales as I am supporting this incredibly worthwhile charity during my
year of office.
There was an introduction by Adam Gough, Prince’s Trust
Team Leader, North Wales Training, followed by very personal and moving words
delivered by three of the young people who had completed the course. This was an
opportunity to find out what activities the learners had carried out, how they
have developed as a team and individuals and to celebrate their success. All the
participants then received their certificates that were presented by Ash Dykes,
explorer and extreme athlete.
23rd July 2017
Civic Ceremony for Chair of Flintshire County Council
My husband and
I were invited to attend the civic service for Councillor Brian Lloyd, Chairman
of Flintshire County Council at the majestic St Mary’s Church in Mold. Chief
Executive of Flintshire County Council, Mr Colin Everett, read the first lesson
and The Rt Hon Lord Jones read the second. The memorable service was conducted
by the Reverend Kevin Horswell, Vicar of Mold.
20th July 2017
Ruthin Citizenship Ceremony
This was my second ceremony in Ruthin
and was attended by Pete Prendergast, Chair of Denbighshire County Council
together with the Deputy Registrar and her assistant. Two people swore their
oaths of allegiance to Queen and Country on this occasion, one originally from
France and the other from Bangladesh.
17th July 2017
Visit to Ysgol y Grango, Wrexham
Evans, Crimebeat/PACT Project Manager and I visited the school to make a
presentation on behalf of Crimebeat to 7 young people who have distinguished
themselves on the Attendance Programme which involved Youth Work in Education,
Wrexham Football Club and the Youth Justice System. The recipients of the awards
benefited from the programme by developing a more positive attitude towards
learning and achieving and their school attendance record improved
significantly. Dave and I were welcomed by Head Teacher, Stephen Garthwaite, PC
Kim Jones, the School Community Police Officer, Debra Kennedy, Youth Worker and
Julia Williams, Attendance Officer together with the school librarian and family
members of the award winners.
14th July 2017
Garden Party hosted by The High Sheriff of Herefordshire
invited by The Reverend Lady Lisvane, High Sheriff of Herefordshire and her
husband Lord Lisvane to a gathering of other High Sheriffs and local friends and
family in their beautiful garden in Blakemere. It was wonderful to see Sue
Thompson High Sheriff of Powys, Stephen Betts High Sheriff of Worcestershire,
Andrew Tabor High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and their other halves again and to
meet Mark Davies High Sheriff of Warwickshire for the first time.
14th July 2017
Summer Tour by HRH The Prince of Wales to Clwyd
As part of the civic line-up my husband David and I were invited to attend the
two venues in Clwyd that His Royal Highness was visiting during his annual Visit
Wales week. Our first port of call was the splendid HQ of Call Centre Moneypenny
in Wrexham. In attendance, was Lloyd Fitzhugh, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, AM Leslie
Griffiths, Councillor John Pritchard, Mayor of Wrexham Council and his wife Mrs
Ann Pritchard, Edward Reeves and Rachel Clacher, co-founders of this hugely
successful company, the MD Joanna Swash and numerous Moneypenny employees. The
Prince was enthusiastically received by flag-waving schoolchildren along the
route from car to entrance.
A quick dash westwards along the A55 took us
to our next destination at Llaeth-y-Llan, near Henllan on the Denbighshire/Conwy
border where we were royally entertained, in every sense, by Gareth and Falmai
Roberts and their family who have built up a thriving yoghurt-making business on
their dairy farm over several decades since 1980. His Royal Highness was greeted
by the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Fetherstonhaugh, and given a tour of the
new production facility. The pupils of Llannefydd Junior School sang Welsh songs
with gusto and waved their flags and those in attendance included the Right
Honourable David Jones MP for Clwyd West, Darren Millar AM for Clwyd West, Brian
Cossey Chair of Conwy Council, many staff on the production, accounts, transport
and quality sides of the dairy together with numerous family friends and local
villagers. A veritable feast of home-made sandwiches, cakes and scones were
enjoyed by us all. The prince then departed by helicopter to RAF Valley in
13th July 2017
Dinner with Mr Justice Lewis,
Presiding Judge of the Welsh Circuit.
My husband David and I were
delighted to meet Mr Justice Lewis in Chester. Our original date of 11th July
was postponed because the murder case in Mold Crown Court he was overseeing came
to an earlier end than expected and the detailed summing-up needed to be
prepared. The jury had reached their verdict earlier that day and it was
incredibly interesting to learn about the results of the case.
12th July 2017
Visit to Berwyn Prison
The High Sheriff
Chaplain Reverend Philip Chew and I were invited to tour the new prison by
Superintendent Jason Devenport who is seconded to the prison from North Wales
Police and to meet Russ Trent, the inspirational Governor, who is doing sterling
work to support the men during their sentences and to create the best
rehabilitation opportunities possible. He believes the unique environment at
Berwyn will give the men a chance to turn their lives around and therefore
reduce crime in the community.
We toured the Visits Hall, the Men’s
Reception Area, Coleg Berwyn (in partnership with Novus Cambria) the Kitchen,
Ogwen House and the Multi Faith Centre. I was particularly interested to meet
Sian Rowlands, Assistant Librarian and to talk to her about books provision,
both print and audio, and to see the wide range of materials available in the
well-used and modern library. There are plans to expand the area as it is so
popular which is very good news. I am very grateful indeed to Jason for giving
us so much of his time and for answering our numerous questions in such detail.
His enthusiasm and commitment to the job are truly admirable.
12th July 2017
Citizenship Ceremony, Wrexham Guildhall
my second ceremony in Wrexham and was warmly greeted by the Mayor and Mayoress
of Wrexham Council, John and Ann Pritchard and Ruth Cooke, county Registrar and
her able team. I was pleased to meet Andy Williams, Deputy Mayor, for the first
time and to hear about his day job with Wrexham Fire Brigade and his voluntary
work as a first responder. We welcomed two families as new British citizens and,
as always, it was particularly pleasing to see how much the children enjoyed the
4th July 2017
Visit to meet a group of police
cadets at Llandrillo College
As part of the High Sheriff’s
Crimebeat project we funded a team-building/leadership weekend camp at Tatton
Park Scout Campus in Cheshire on 14th, 15th and 16th July and I was invited by
West Conwy Cadet Leader, PCSO Chris Perkins, to meet a group of the police
cadets who will be attending camp and to hear a fascinating talk and slide show
about mountain rescue from the leader of Ogwen Valley Search & Rescue.
3rd July 2017
Chairman of Denbighshire County Council’s Sponsored
Concert at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
David and I were invited to the 70th Anniversary Opening Concert by Councillor
Pete Prendergast, Chairman of Denbighshire County Council. We attended the
drinks reception in the Royal Pavilion prior to the concert and had the
privilege of hearing Terry Waite CBE speak about how individuals and choirs have
come together from all parts of the word to sing, dance and perform and in so
doing have brought a message of peace and harmony to thousands over the past 70
The glorious uplifting concert was a celebration of brass and
voices under the leadership of Conductor OwainArwel Hughes CBE and the musicians
included Soprano MeinirWyn Roberts, Euphonium Soloist David Childs, the world
class Cory Brass Band together with the Canoldir, Fron, Rhos and Colne Valley
Male Voice Choirs. It was a really wonderful and memorable evening.
3rd July 2017
Visit to Mold Crown Court
I was invited by
Mr Justice Lewis, Presiding Judge of the Wales Circuit, to sit with him to
observe proceedings in the trial of Stephen Hough. The case largely hinged on
new DNA evidence that had come to light since 1976 when the crime originally
took place. We listened to the evidence of a number of scientists about the
collection, labelling and storage of DNA and it was a fascinating morning for
me. I was very grateful to His Honour for allowing me to join him as it was my
first experience of seeing how a High Court works in practice.
30th June 2017
RAF Valley Annual Reception, Anglesey
My husband, David, and I went to the very well-attended reception which was
hosted in the Officers’ Mess by the Station Commander, Group Captain Nick
Tucker-Lowe and other Officers of Royal Air Force Valley. After meeting numerous
Air Force crew from the UK and overseas, plus what seemed to be almost the whole
of Anglesey’s population, we were entertained by a RAF band from the Midlands
who had battled the Friday evening M6 traffic to reach us just in time for the
reception. We then enjoyed a majestic march-past.
The work undertaken at
RAF Valley is fascinating, in terms of training aircrew and saving lives. All
the RAF’s future fast jet combat pilots pass through the Station, flying first
the Hawk T Mk2 and then graduating to flying the Tornado, Typhoon and F35
Lightning 11. RAF Valley also supports a training programme for mountainous and
maritime operations worldwide.
26th June 2017
Meeting with Iwan Davies, CEO of Conwy County Council
We met in the splendid council office in Bodlondeb, overlooking
magnificent Conwy Castle. Iwan was the Returning Officer at Clwyd West Count on
Election night and it was a pleasure to meet him again to hear all about the
important work carried out by the Council in the Conwy area which has its higher
share than average of older people hence the ongoing challenge to provide good
social care in collaboration with the NHS. Also, I was very interested to learn
about some smaller libraries becoming community-run with the help and support of
the council to provide not just the usual library services but also help for
those who need access to a computer and advice in order to complete complicated
application forms and other paperwork.
22nd June 2017
Citizenship Ceremony at Mold
This was my second ceremony at Mold’s
historic Llwynegrin Hall and today Brian Lloyd, Chair of Flintshire County
Council, Noelle Baston, County Registrar and I welcomed 4 new British citizens
whose countries of birth were Australia, Nigeria, and two from Thailand.
21st June 2017
Armed Forces Day and National Reserves Day, County
The Chairman of Denbighshire County Council, Peter
Prendergast extended an invitation to Henry Fetherstonhaugh, The Lord Lieutenant
of Clwyd, myself, a number of senior council members, a serving Royal Navy
Reservist whose day job is with the Council and a former Reservist who now works
for the council but spent time in the Reserve Army whilst studying at Liverpool
University. The Chairman praised the armed forces in this commemorative week,
prayers were said and then two flags were raised to celebrate the occasion.
19th June 2017
Luncheon at Cardiff Civil and Family Justice
All 8 High Sheriffs of Wales were invited to attend
lunch in Cardiff by His Honour Judge Robert Harrison, the Designated Civil Judge
for Wales. The purpose of the gathering was to introduce us to the Senior Civil
and Family Court Judges who work in the 17 courts of the Cardiff Civil and
Family Justice Centre. In our role as High Sheriffs we entertain the High Court
Judges who sit in our own county’s Crown Court but the majority try criminal
cases so it was really interesting to meet a wider range of the judiciary. In
attendance were Mr Justice Francis, His Honour Judge Andrew Keyser QC (TCC and
Mercantile Judge), His Honour Judge MilwynJarman QC (Chancery Judge) and Her
Honour Judge Mererid Edwards (Family Circuit Judge) together with District Judge
Hywel James (Civil and Family) and District Judge David Crowley (Civil and
My day was made especially memorable as I decided to fly there
and back from Valley Airport in Anglesey to Cardiff on the Welsh
Government-subsidised service, run by Eastern Airline, and the 40-minute flight
each way was the height of luxury with the most spectacular views across the
whole of Wales for the entire duration of the flight as the weather was so good.
17th June 2017
Armed Forces Day Celebrations, Caernarfon
It was the county of Gwynedd’s turn to highlight and honour the work of our
armed forces and my husband, David and I were very pleased to be invited by
Gwynedd Council to attend this prestigious event which took place within the
medieval town of Caernarfon and the Victoria Dock. First we attended the Drum
Head Service in the town square which was led by The Rev Canon Roger Donaldson
and The Reverend Marcus Robinson and Her Majesty’s Band of the Royal Marines,
Collingwood. The huge crowd was welcomed by Honorary President and former MP,
ElfynLlwyd, and we enjoyed the moving service on what proved to be the hottest
day of the year so far. The service concluded with the Last Post and a minute’s
silence to honour the fallen and then the British and Welsh National Anthems.
As part of Edmund Bailey, the Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd’s party, we then
witnessed the magnificent parade by representatives from all branches of the
armed forces from the steps of the castle, followed by more wonderful military
band music within the walls of the castle itself. This atmospheric and uplifting
spectacle was rounded off by a light lunch at the historic Royal Welsh Yacht
Club from where we could view the boat races and general festivities on the
Our party also included Professor Sian Hope, High Sheriff of
Gwynedd, Cllr Annwen Daniels, Chair of Gwynedd Council, Cllr Ioan Thomas,
Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Armed Forces and also Mayor of
Caernarfon, Dilwyn Williams, Chief Executive of Gwynedd Council, Rear-Admiral
Keith Beckett RN, Colonel F S Acton Deputy Commander of the Reserves and Air
Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales.
15th June 2017
The Guildhall, Wrexham County Council, Wrexham
I was invited to meet
Dr Helen Paterson, Chief Executive of Wrexham Country Council, at the Council
offices to hear about her particular areas of interest and talk about ways in
which we could collaborate to further our shared interests in education and help
to improve literacy skills among the young people of North-East Wales.
13th June 2017
Schools Visit to Dangerpoint, Talacre, Flintshire
At the invitation of Julie Evans, Manager of this purpose-built safety centre
that helps teach children and young people how to stay safe in a variety of
different scenarios, Professor Sian Hope, High Sheriff of Gwynedd, and I
attended a school session all morning. I had heard marvellous reports about the
centre from previous High Sheriffs, including Nick Bankes, one of their keenest
supporters but sadly no longer with us. It definitely lived up to expectation
and deserves to be far better known not just across Clwyd but further afield in
Gwynedd, Cheshire and beyond. Julie and her able team are doing sterling work in
preventing all manner of disasters in the home, workplace, school, beaches, sea,
rivers, railways and so on. The children enjoyed learning much from the set
pieces and from the friendly ‘cartoon’ character K-OS who answered many of their
questions in a fun but informative way.
Later that day, Sian and I
attended a Trustees’ Meeting for Dangerpoint at the North Wales Fire and Rescue
Centre in St Asaph Business Park. There we heard much more about fund-raising
efforts for this extremely worthwhile charity.
12th June 2017
Denbighshire Volunteers Celebration Event, Ruthin
Following on from my visit to the Naylor Leyland Centre on 5th June, I returned
to the office to participate in a gathering of third sector professionals to
hear them speak about their amazing work in the community and to celebrate the
ongoing work of some wonderful volunteers.
8th June 2017
General Election, Clwyd West Count, Venue Cymru,
It is protocol for High Sheriffs to act as Returning
Officers at General Elections if they so wish. In this instance, I opted to
attend two Counts instead in order to gain a greater knowledge of how the system
works. My first visit was to the Clwyd West Count in Llandudno where Iwan
Davies, Chief Executive of Conwy Council, was the Returning Officer. Despite his
busy schedule he very kindly took time away from his important role to introduce
my husband, David and I to some of his key colleagues at the council who were
supporting him in ensuring the Count was completed in the most efficient and
timely way. I found it very interesting to see a number of marked ballot papers
that were placed in various baskets for legal advisers to make the decision as
to whether they were spoiled or valid. The Aberconwy Count was under way on the
other side of the large hall and there was a dividing line between the two
8th June 2017
Vale of Clwyd Count at Denbigh Leisure Centre
We drove straight from Llandudno to Denbigh and arrived shortly before midnight
to be told that the Declaration was likely to take place around 1.30am. We were
all anticipating a closely-run competition between the Labour and Conservative
candidates and we hoped there would be no need for a re-count. Mohammed Mehmet,
Chief Executive of Denbighshire County Council, and his able team of council
staff and volunteers did a brilliant job though and the result was duly declared
at the anticipated time with Labour’s Chris Ruane edging ahead of Dr James
Davies, the Conservation candidate, on this occasion. It was very exciting to
watch a live Declaration for the first time.
7th June 2017
High Sheriffs’ Dinner at the Inner Temple, London
All 55 serving High Sheriffs of England and Wales and their partners were
invited to dinner at the historic Inner Temple by the Treasurer, David Pittaway
QC. The dinner was preceded by Choral Evensong in the Temple Church with the
most wonderful music provided by The Temple Church Choir and Roger Sayer, their
Director of Music. My consort for the evening was my daughter, Eleanor, a family
law barrister, who is a tenant at Harcourt Chambers, a stone’s throw from Temple
Church and Inner Temple. She herself is a member of Gray’s Inn so she enjoyed
the visit to another Inn as a guest. The 8 Welsh High Sheriffs were all in
attendance and we were able to congregate together for a few group photographs
before being ushered into dinner.
5th June 2017
Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council, Ruthin
I was asked to a
stunning photographic exhibition entitled ‘We Can….’ at the Naylor Leyland
Centre in Ruthin by Helen Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of Denbighshire
Voluntary Services Council. The aim of the project was to encourage people to
look at the person behind various conditions and to break down barriers and
ultimately reduce isolation and fear of the unknown. Each person who took part
has a learning disability and all are studying at college in the hope of one day
finding employment. This was one of a number of varied events which formed part
of the Volunteers Week celebrations.
1st June 2017
Youth Volunteering Awards Presentation at Ruthin School
I was invited by Gerry Frobisher, the Youth Lead Volunteering and Wellbeing
Development Officer at Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council, who is also the
Mayor of Prestatyn, to attend and present certificates at this event together
with Roy Tickle, the Mayor of Denbigh, Jim Bryan, the Mayor of Ruthin and Peter
Prendergast, Chair of Denbigh County Council. Unfortunately I was unable to
attend a further event to celebrate the work of young volunteers at YsgolClawdd
Offa Prestatyn the following evening. Thursday’s event was extremely well
attended by the students who had carried out thousands of hours between them of
community and school-based volunteering and many of their friends and family.
31st May 2017
CYAST (Children and Youth Adult Support Team)Meeting at Greenfield Business
Dave Evans, of North Wales Police/Crimebeat and I visited the Centre at the invitation of project leader, Kate Wilde, to observe a volunteer from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, giving financial and budgeting advice to four young people who are making the difficult transition from living in care to coping with independent adult life. The project runs alongside a new workbook manual that CYAST has developed that will accompany young people in care from the age of 13 and is part-funded by the High Sheriff’s charity,
25th May 2017
High Sheriffs’ Reception at the Old Bailey
My husband, David and I were invited to attend a Reception, together with all the other serving High Sheriffs and their consorts, by the Sheriffs of the City of London, Aldermen William Russell and Peter
Estlin, at the magnificent Grand Hall in the Old Bailey. This was the first time such an invitation has been arranged just for High Sheriffs and we all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see Britain’s central criminal court first-hand. Several High Court Judges mingled with the High Sheriffs, giving us a flavour of their day-to-day work in this historic place.
20th May 2017
Llandudno Citizenship Ceremony
Today I attended my first citizenship ceremony at the fourth centre for Clwyd in the Conwy Suite at Llandudno Town Hall. I was greeted warmly by Suzanne Fisher, County Registrar and her able assistant,
Haydyn. This was the largest group of new citizens I have met thus far and their places of birth ranged from Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, The Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Pakistan and India. I was so pleased to have an opportunity to talk to them all after the ceremony and hear about their interesting journeys to taking up British citizenship.
19th May 2017
Rural North Flintshire Community Hub – Launch Event
I visited Trelogan Community Centre with my husband, David, at the invitation of the North Wales Energy Advice
Centre. This was the launch event for the Rural North Flintshire Community Hub to highlight the advice and support that NWEAC can offer to help combat fuel poverty which is rife in this particular part of
Clwyd. Very informative and interesting presentations were made by Steve Woosey, Michele Jones and Laura Bellis of
NWEAC, followed by Jo Seymour, Flintshire County Council Environmental Health Officer, Chris
Ablett, Youth Volunteering Development officer of Flintshire Local Voluntary Council, Neil Pringle, Community Fund Manager for Gwynt y Mor and Silas Jones of
Cadwyn, the Rural Development Agency. The meeting was very well attended and I think we all learned a great deal about the benefits of various agencies working together to support vulnerable households in
19th May 2017
Visit to Primary School Ysgol Frongoch, Denbigh in Bloom
I was accompanied by Dave Evans of North Wales Police where we were greeted by an incredibly enthusiastic set of young gardeners aged from 6-11 who have been nurturing new plants at school in preparation for re-locating them around Denbigh town to enhance the appearance of the focal parts of the town
centre. This project teaches the children about the environment and gives them pride in their surroundings. A really heart-warming experience.
18th May 2017
Crime Commissioner of Clwyd’s Award Ceremony, Kinmel Manor, Abergele
Together with my husband, David, I attended this event, hosted by Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner of Clwyd who was marking the completion of his first year in office and celebrating and publicising some of the amazing work carried out within the communities of North Wales.
I was invited to introduce Hannah Mart, who was the incredibly worthy winner of the Victims’ Champion Award. Through Hannah’s sterling work as a Children and Young People Sexual Violence Advisor, in collaboration with North Wales Police, she has set up the Young Women’s Support Groups. The aim of the groups is to provide a supportive environment and to build resilience through shared education such as the STAR Project that encourages Safety, Trust and Respect and thereby aims to build young victims’ self-esteem and confidence levels.
Other awards presented were the People’s Award to Tanya Jones of Rough Sleepers Intervention Team,
Wrexham, the Community Champion Award to Caru Amlwych, the Rehabilitation Award to Zoe Davies, the Drug Intervention Award to ARCH Kaleidoscope, the Equality and Diversity Award to RainbowBiz Ltd, the Young People’s Award to Daniel Roberts, the Outstanding Achievement Award to ARC Communities, the Welsh Language Champion Award to GISDA of Blaenau Ffestiniog and, finally, the Anti-Slavery Champion Award to BAWSO of
17th May 2017
Dinner for High Court Judge
Dinner at Cerrigllwydion Hall for Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, who was sitting at Mold Crown Court. The guests were Under-Sheriff Henry Wilson and his wife Caroline, High Sheriff of Clwyd in Nomination for 2018 Lady Elizabeth Hanmer and her husband Sir Guy, High Sheriff of Gwynedd Professor Sian Hope, Former High Sheriff of Clwyd 2002 Commander John Bradshaw and his wife Frances, Former High Sheriff of Clwyd 2012 Henry Dixon, Mr and Mrs Mark Ferranti and His Honour Ian and Mrs Trigger.
17th May 2017
Crimebeat Meeting, St Asaph
Constructive meeting with David Evans, Project Manager of PACT and Crimebeat from North Wales Police and the rest of the committee to discuss applications for funding.
16th May 2017
Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Lunch with High Sheriff of Shropshire, Charles Lillis and his wife Veronica and High Sheriff of Cheshire, Sarah
Callendar- Beckett, her husband Peter and son Peregrine, followed by a glorious walk through gardens from Buckingham Palace which the seven of us entered from the Grosvenor Gate. Despite having driven around the perimeter of the Palace grounds on countless occasions I have never had the opportunity to view the gardens or Palace from the rear before and they both truly lived up to expectation, especially as we were lucky enough to enjoy the only sunny day in London that week. No umbrellas required despite the many being carried!
Members of the royal family attending included Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Beatrice and numerous courtiers.
Afternoon tea was a lovely treat and we encountered a number of fellow North Walians amongst the throng of 7,000 people, including Ann Davies, Chair of Denbigh County Council and Mark Hudson,representing the Duchy of Lancaster and Sue, his wife, a former High Sheriff of
11th May 2017
CB1 North Wales Annual Dinner, Chester St David’s Hotel, Ewloe
I was delighted to join the CEO of Prince’s Wales Trust in Wales, Philip Jones, together with three senior members of his excellent team, Helen, Rhian and
Sian, on their table at this impressive event, held at St David’s Hotel on
Deeside. We were addressed by many inspiring speakers, including the war hero, Simon Weston, CBI President Paul
Drechsler, Sacha Davies of Horizon Nuclear Power, Tracey North and Michael
Plaut,Chairs of CBI Wales. The Prince’s Trust in Wales are working hard to raise the aspirations of young people in Wales and thereby helping them to build the future of Wales.
11th May 2017
Denbighshire Citizenship Ceremony
I was delighted to be invited to the Denbighshire Citizenship Ceremony today which took place at Ruthin Town Hall. Superintendent Registrar, Nerys Ellis, presided over the ceremony and both the outgoing Chair of Denbigh County Council, Ann Davies and I said a few words to welcome our four newest citizens who originally hailed from North Iraq and The Philippines.
10th May 2017
Wrexham Citizenship Ceremony
My second Citizenship Ceremony took place at Wrexham’s Guildhall. On this occasion there were four new citizens together with their friends and family who attended. Officiating were Superintendent Registrar, Ruth Cooke and her able team. The Mayor and Mayoress of Wrexham and I were very pleased to play a part in the new citizens’ special day, the youngest of whom was only 8 months old.
27th April 2017
Flintshire Citizenship Ceremony
My first Citizenship Ceremony at Mold’s historic Llwynegrin Hall where the Vice-Chair of Flintshire County Council, Mr Brian Lloyd, and I together with Superintendent Registrar, Noelle Baston, witnessed nine new British citizens take their oaths and swear allegiance to the crown. Their countries of birth ranged from Turkey, to Poland, to India and it was positively inspirational to hear their stories of the long road to gaining citizenship.
8th April 2017
Declaration Ceremony at St Saeren’s Church, Llanynys
I was blessed with the sunniest day of the year thus far to hold my Declaration Ceremony at the beautiful ancient parish church of St Saeren’s,
Llanynys, presided over by the High Sheriff’s Chaplain, Rev’d Philip Chew. This was followed by a wonderful reception at our home, Cerrigllwydion Hall, Llandyrnog in the Vale of
Clwyd, which has been a family home for several generations.
My distinguished guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh
OBE, Judges Rhys Rowlands and Roger Dutton, Former Judge and now Lay Reader Ian Trigger, the Bishop of St
Asaph, together with numerous past High Sheriffs of Clwyd and their spouses. The High Sheriffs of
Gwynedd, Cheshire and Shropshire were also in attendance. Magistrate Susanne Dixon witnessed the signing of the Declaration and Mr Jim O’Toole, the outgoing High Sheriff and Mr Henry Wilson, the Under-Sheriff, also participated in the formal part of the ceremony. The service was accompanied by a majestic musical programme which showcased the local musical talent we have here in Clwyd and created a very special ambience.
My grateful thanks to all those who contributed to make this a truly memorable occasion.
The annual swearing-in ceremony of new Magistrates at which north Wales Resident Judge Rhys Rowlands officiated in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd was held at Mold Crown Court. Nineteen new Magistrates were present from a wide range of the County’s citizens and one serving Magistrate received a 25 years’ service award. Judge Rowlands welcomed the new Magistrates and gave them an informative and humorous insight into the life of a Magistrate.
I was again delighted to attend at the Blind Veterans U.K. Centre at Llandudno, on this occasion to present the buggies which I had raised funds for by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last October. It was initially planned to provide a
six-seater buggy but one suitable for the sloping pathway to the Woodlands was not available. The solution was to obtain individual powered buggies that can be steered by a volunteer
carer. I’m sure the blind veterans will get great enjoyment from using the buggies both to the Woodland and also down to the promenade at
It's possible my neighbours may think I'm in jail as I never seem to be home!
I was again pleased to attend a charity ball organized by the Mayor of Prestatyn Mr Bob Murray in the Nova Centre at the town's beach. The theme of the evening was James Bond; there was a lot of costumed shaking and stirring going on throughout the evening but regrettable no
Ursula Andress lookalike strolled up from the sea.
Just as my Shrieval year is drawing to a close the season for Charity Balls is getting under way. Shame!
Nevertheless, I was delighted to be invited to attend a charity event held by the Chairman of Flintshire County Council, Mr Peter Curtis. It's well acknowledged that in these days of austerity Councils' have to "watch the pennies" wherever possible. I'm sure Chairman Curtis won't mind me describing him as an "Old Rocker" when he led by example in reducing costs by entertaining the guests with his own guitar playing and singing songs from his time in a 60's band as a "Young Rocker".
I was pleased to arrange a formal dinner held in the Oak Room at Airbus U.K. in Broughton, Flintshire attended by High Court Judges and other distinguished guests. Paul Mckinley, the Manager of the plant provided guests with a very informative history of Broughton from its establishment in 1939 to construct Wellington bombers to its present-day business of manufacturing wings for the entire family of Airbus aircraft, including the double-deck A380.
Participating in Citizenship Ceremonies has been a very enjoyable and at times emotive occasion during my term in office. The Ceremony at Wrexham on the morning of the 15th March was another "final" but no less enjoyable. On that occasion there were seven Candidates for Citizenship, including two young gentlemen who had made great efforts and dressed to impress for this important and hopefully memorable day in their lives.
In the company of the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd and the Chairman of Denbighshire County Council Mrs Anne Davies I was pleased to attend a flag raising ceremony in the town of Ruthin to mark Commonwealth Day.
On the evening of the 10th March I was very pleased to hold my High Sheriff of Clwyd Crimebeat Awards for the voluntary services of the four counties which make up the Shrieval County of Clwyd. The ceremony, held at Theatre Clwyd in Mold was attended by many distinguished guests when I presented awards to individuals and volunteer organizations from a diverse range of sectors including support for drug and alcohol abuse prevention, dangers of the Internet, medical First Responders, and helping to combat anti-social behaviour. I was also pleased to present former Welsh Fusilier Shaun Stocker with a High Sheriff's personal award for his fundraising activities on behalf of Blind Veterans U.K. (see entry below of 16th July).
The Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh OBE and Captain Brian Thorne RD RNR Chairman of the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association for Wales held a Cadets' Awards Ceremony at Bodelwyddan Castle which I was pleased to attend. Awards were presented to Cadets and members of the three reserve forces, some of whom had been on active service overseas.
It was with some regret that I participated in the last Citizenship ceremony of my term in office for the County of Denbighshire. As usual the ceremony was held in the Town Hall of the county seat at Ruthin where five new Candidates for Citizenship swore their allegiance to H. M the Queen.
The Orial Country House Hotel in the rural Denbighshire was the setting for the City of St Asaph Mayor's annual charity ball. I was pleased to attend and to support Mayor Colin Hardie raise funds for local charitable organizations.
St Asaph Cathedral.
Llawynegrin Hall at Mold was again the setting for another Citizenship ceremony when four Candidates attended to swear their allegiance to H.M. the Queen and commence a new life as British citizens.
Visits by members of the Royal Family are always a great highlight during a Shrivel year and I was therefore delighted to be present when Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex attended the Blind Veterans Centre in Llandudno as Patron to the Charity.
‘As well as opening the new building at the Blind Veterans UK training and rehabilitation centre, Her Royal Highness also saw at first-hand some of the other services the charity offers to veterans who have lost their sight.
These included visiting the charity’s Art and Craft studio where blind veterans learn new skills to be able to produce paintings, wood works and textiles. Some of these veterans are learning these skills, and therefore a new hobby, for the first time.
Photo courtesy of Blind Veterans UK.
St Mary's church sits on the banks of the river Clwyd in the town of Rhuddlan and I was honoured to attend a choral evening arranged by the Chairman of Denbighshire County Council Mrs Anne Davies. The performance by the renowned Trelawynd Male Voice Choir (the oldest Boy Band in the World) was conducted by Ann Atkinson. It was a truly memorable evening with £10,000 being raised for two local charities. Congratulations to Anne and her staff for organizing such a wonderful event.
Spending a Sunday evening in the company of a bunch of gangsters is really not what a High Sheriff should be doing, nonetheless I was very pleased to be in the company of "The Young Uns" as they performed their version of Bugsey Malone in Llangollen Town Hall. The ages of the cast ranged from six to eighteen years and as the event had been part funded by a grant from Crimebeat I was delighted to present the cast with certificates of achievement.
The first meeting of 2017 of the Police and Community Trust (PACT) took place at North Wales Police HQ in Colwyn Bay where my counterpart High Sheriff from the neighbouring county of Gwynedd Dr Peter Harlech Jones and I gave a summary of the events to date that we had been involved with during our term in office in our respective Shrieval counties.
At the invitation of Brigadier Richmond OBE on behalf on the Army Board I attended a reception and briefing by The Army Engagement Team held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. The evening included presentations on the measures the Army takes to engage with and maintain good relationships with the general public
I was in attendance at a meeting of the Crimebeat committee held at the North Wales Police facility at St Asaph. This was the final meeting attended by my predecessor Mrs Janet Evans; the committee offered their thanks to Mrs Evans for the sterling work she had carried out in the three years she had been a member.
It was the turn of Flintshire to hold a Citizenship Ceremony at Llynegrin Hall in Mold when seven Candidates attended to become British Citizens.
A meeting of the Clwyd High Sheriff’s Advisory Panel was held at my home when the main agenda items were the arrangements for a Proclamation and consideration of candidates for the position of High Sheriff in 2021/2022.
I again participated in a Citizenship Ceremony held at the Civic Centre in the town of Wrexham. Seven Candidates attended the ceremony.
The Mayor of Rhuddlan invited me to attend a charity masquerade ball to raise funds for “Lukes Fund”. Luke is a teenager who in a very admirable way is coping with the consequences of a stroke which has left him paralysed from the waist down.
The town of Ruthin in Denbighshire was the venue for another Citizenship Ceremony in which I participated.
The High Sheriff of Cheshire Mrs Kathy Cowell invited me to participate in the service to mark the beginning of the Legal Year in her county. The service was held in the beautiful and historic Chester Cathedral that included a procession from the adjacent Town Hall by Lord Lieutenants, High Sheriffs from neighbouring counties, Judges and Civic dignitaries.
I participated in a Citizenship Ceremony at Llandudno where seven candidates for British Citizenship swore their allegiance.
Rhuddlan Environment Group held their annual Halloween litter pick. The Scouts, Guides, youth volunteers and Brownies certainly collected a lot of litter down by Station Rd and Marsh Rd.The Rainbows did the library and two streets, with Cubs and Beavers doing the playing fields.
The litter pick was followed by a party for children from the local schools, which included a competition for the best costume. No prizes for guessing who was given the task of judging the costumes and choosing the winner!
I chaired a meeting of the Clwyd Crimebeat Committed at North Wales Police H.Q. in St Asaph. It is pleasing to note that the financial assistance provided by Crimebeat is making a positive difference for the young people of the county.
I attended a PACT meeting at North Wales Police H.Q. in St Asaph which included a presentation of the work being undertaken to combat
I attended a celebratory dinner for newly appointed Honorary Fellows of Glyndwr University in Wrexham.
To mark the start of the Mayoral year there are many Civic Services taking place and I was very pleased to be invited by the new Mayor of Saltney Town Council, Councillor Carol Gregory to her Service at the Methodist Church in the town.
There are no prisons in north Wales (a new prison is due to open in Wrexham early next year) and hence it is customary for the High Sheriffs of Clwyd and Gwynedd to visit HMP Styll Women’s Prison in Manchester and HMP Altcourse Men’s prison in Liverpool where offenders from our region serve their sentences.
With the H.S. of Gwynedd I visited HMP Altcourse which houses all categories of offenders. We were particularly impressed with how inmates are taught new skills such as welding which they then use to produce components for a local furniture factory.
5th – 16th October
I have chosen to support three charities during my year in office, one of them being Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstans) and their Centre at Llandudno. On the 5th October I set out for Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with the aim to raise £8,000 to buy a modified golf buggy for use at Llandudno. The six seat buggy will enable blind veterans with restricted mobility to visit a woodland at the Centre where they will “bird watch” by identifying the birds by their song
I’m pleased to report that after an eight day climb I successfully reached the summit early on the morning of 15th October. I’m also pleased to report that my fundraising target of £8,000 was exceeded and would like to thank all the people who gave their generous support to this very worthy cause.
I participated in a Citizenship Ceremony at Llandudno Town Hall when seven people, including a family of four from South Africa became British Citizens.
The Motivational Preparation College for Training (MPCT) is a wonderful organization which in conjunction with Glyndwr University in Wrexham provides career and military training for young people between 16 and 19 years of age. The event was an annual Awards Ceremony which was preceded by a demonstration of the skills being taught by the MPCT. I was honoured to be asked to present certificates to the Cadets, including an award to the Cadet of the Year.
Abergele is a market town in the north of Denbighshire and I was pleased to accept an invitation from the new Mayor of the Town Council Cllr. John McLennan to his Civic Service in the town’s St Michael’s Church.
I again attended a Citizenship ceremony atLlynegrin Hall Mold in Flintshire when 8 people swore their allegiance and became British Citizens.
Dr Peter Harlech Jones, High Sheriff of neighbouring Gwynedd and myself made a visit to HMP Styll in Manchester. HMP Styll is a woman’s prison which houses women convicted in the courts of north Wales. The prison regime was not what either of us had anticipated as the atmosphere, although well disciplined, was much more relaxed than expected. Of particular interest was the Mother and Baby unit where mothers can have their baby with them until the child is 18 months old.
I was given the opportunity to accompany members of North Wales Police on an evening patrol of Prestatyn and the surrounding areas. I was greatly impressed by the knowledge the Constable and PCSO on the patrol had of their beat and how they were able to easily identify “Persons of Interest”. I hadn’t previously appreciated the immediate improvement in behaviour of other car drivers‘ when a police car appears!
The Royal Air Force holds an annual reception at RAF Valley in Anglesey and I was delighted to accept an invitation from the Commanding Officer Group Captain Braid. Also attending was Dr Peter Harlech Jones, High Sheriff of Gwynedd.
RAF Valley is a training establishment and it was an interesting to meet aircrew under instruction from a wide variety of countries. Regrettable a planned flypast by Tornado aircraft had to be cancelled due to very poor weather conditions.
A Citizenship ceremony was held at Ruthin in Denbighshire in which I was pleased to participate. On that occasion, there were 5 candidates to be welcomed as new British Citizens.
Having started my career in the Merchant Navy I was very pleased to be invited to participate in a flag raising ceremony at the offices of Denbighshire C.C. in
Ruthin. The ceremony was led by Mrs Ann Davies, Chairman of the Council and was attended by past and serving members of the Merchant Navy.
I was honoured to attend the naming ceremony of a new lifeboat “Lady Barbara” at the RNLI lifeboat station adjacent to Flint castle. The new inshore lifeboat with a three-man crew replaces an earlier version of the same type of craft that has served well in assisting in numerous lifesaving incidents in the Dee estuary.
I accepted an invitation to meet Mrs Helen Paterson, CEO of Wrexham CBC. It was interesting to learn of the issues faced by the Council in delivering social care, particularly to young people from homes where there are domestic abuse and drug and alcohol issues.
I participated in another Citizenship ceremony at Llandudno. On this occasion there were seven Candidates for Citizenship.
Most people will recognise the term “at Loggerheads” but perhaps few will realise that there is actually a place named Loggerheads, and that it’s in north Wales! Loggerheads lies just south of the town of Mold with a very extensive and scenic Country Park.
I had the pleasure of attending another Clwyd Crimebeat project which involved a dozen teenagers participating in a team building weekend. Funds from Clwyd Crimebeat had been used to pay for a day of raft building which was supervised by PCSO’s and volunteer officers from North Wales Police. The teenagers had a great time with competitive paddling around the lake. What a pity I wasn’t allowed to join in the fun!
The school summer holidays are an obvious time for outdoor pursuits funded by Clwyd
Crimebeat. I attended at the Marine Lake in Rhyl to see 18 young people on another one-day raft building and racing event similar to that which I had attended earlier in the week at Loggerheads. I’m always greatly impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants in these outdoor activities; not a cell phone to be seen!
My day job is managing The Port of Mostyn from where the wings for the Airbus A380 aircraft (often referred to as the
“Superjumbo”) are shipped to Bordeaux in France.
Cadets from T.S. Tuscan in Connah’s Quay were the Guard of Honour at my Declaration ceremony in April so I was very pleased to welcome them to the Port. Their visit included a trip out on the Port’s pilot cutter to see the Pilot boarding the French flagged ship Cuidad De Cadiz which was calling to load a set of wings. When the ship was in berth they were also able to observe the massive wings (50m in length and 13m wide) being loaded on board.
In the company of Dr Peter Harlech Jones, High Sheriff of Gwynedd, local politicians and other dignitaries I attended an awards presentation to Community Cadets and Dragons at Colwyn Bay. The awards were made following competitions held earlier in the day between the various Cadets. It came as no surprise that the Army Cadets won most of the competitions against the more junior and inexperienced Community Cadets!
The town of Rhuddlan on the banks of the river Clwyd is famous for its castle built from 1277 by King Edward 1. I was delighted to visit Rhuddlan to attendthe Civic Service of Mrs Ann Davies the newly elected Chairman of Denbighshire County Council. The service was held in Ebeneser Chapel in the centre of the town and followed by lunch at the church hall.
Llangollen in Denbighshire is the home of an annual International Musical Eisteddfod and I was pleased to be a guest of Denbighshire C.C. who sponsored the musical Carmen. It was a wonderful and lively performance with an international and Welsh cast accompanied by local singers who showed great talent.
The installation ceremony for the new Vice Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University Professor Maria Hinfelaar was held at the University on the afternoon of the 7th July and I was very pleased to be invited to participate in the academic procession. After working in several countries during her career Maria now speaks seven languages. Little wonder that within just three months of moving to Wales the attendees were greatly impressed when the good Professor delivered her address in Welsh! The installation ceremony was followed that evening by a celebratory dinner.
I was again pleased to participate in a Citizenship ceremony at the Guildhall in Wrexham where eight candidates attended to become citizens of the United Kingdom. On this occasion I was accompanied by Mrs Charlotte Howard, High Sheriff of Clwyd in Nomination who will succeed me next year. Mrs Howard was keen to know what to expect during her own term in office. She’s not being deterred from taking up the post!
A regular meeting of the Clwyd Crimebeat Committee was held in the afternoon of the 13th July. On this occasion nine grants were made to organizations that had applied for funding for various youth projects. In most cases the results of the projects match the application aspirations.
The Shrieval County of Clwyd encompasses the administrative counties of
Flintshire, Wrexham, Denbighshire and Conwy and each county holds its own Citizenship ceremony, hence why I attended two ceremonies in the same week. The second ceremony of the week was at Ruthin in Denbighshire where five Candidates, four of them from the same family, swore their allegiance to become citizens of the United Kingdom.
Blind Veterans U.K. is one of my chosen charities for my year in office and I had the great pleasure to accompany Sean Stocker, formerly of Royal Welsh Fusiliers’ on the Prestatyn to Rhyl sector of his 100 mile “Prom Walk” to raise funds for fellow blind veterans.
Sean lost both his legs and his sight in Afghanistan and has overcome not just his severe injuries, he has also set himself on a course of rehabilitation and learning to help him lead a normal independent life again. He is a truly inspirational young man.
One of the schools that have benefited from grants from ClwydCrimebeat is YsgolDeniol in Marchwiel near
Wrexham. The funding they received enabled 30 pupils to participate in a daylong visit to Dangerpoint near Prestatyn where they experienced many displays and interactive programmes to help them become aware of hazards in their homes, at play and in leisure activities.
Four years ago the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were given the Freedom of the town of Llandudno and on the 23rd July they returned to give a Re-affirmation parade under the command of Lt. Colonel Clayton. In fine weather and watched by many hundreds of townsfolk and holiday makers the troops paraded along Llandudno’s Victorian promenade. Together with the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd and the Chairman of Conwy Council I had the great pleasure of inspecting the troops and hearing of their individual experiences while serving overseas.
It’s always a pleasure to see at first-hand the projects funded by Clwyd Crimebeat and my visit to the village of Hope near Wrexham to see the “Beat-it-in-Hope” one-day event was no exception. This was a project aimed at warning children about the dangers of being drawn into the drug and alcohol culture. It was very well supported by the local PCSO’s and also by the charity Groundwork.
I had the pleasure to meet with Mr Colin Everett, CEO of Flintshire County Council. Colin is also the Clerk of the Lieutenancy in the (preserved) County of Clwyd and is extremely supportive of the High Sheriff’s office.
I had the pleasure to attend at The Cup Cake in Ruthin where a fundraising event was being held in support of Ruthin First Responders. The theme was linked to celebrations for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and was a great success.
Later that day I attended the Caerwys Agricultural Show which is an annual event that is a showcase for the local farming community to display their talents. One of the highlights of the event for me was to inspect many of the vintage cars, tractors and steam engines on display. Another highlight was to present prizes to the winners of the livestock competitions, that’s a lot of bull!
About five miles to the west of Chester is the village of Sealand, not a place known to the wider population but its fame comes from the fact that it was at Sealand where the Royal Flying Corp was formed 100 years ago; as we know, the RFC became the RAF.
I was delighted to be invited to a service held in St Bartholomew’s Church in Sealand to celebrate this 100 year milestone. The local
M.P, Welsh Assembly Member and many members of the local community, many of whom had an association with RAF Sealand also participated.
I accepted an invitation to visit Blind Veterans U.K. (formerly St Dunstan’s) in
Llandudno. The centre is set in beautiful grounds at Craig y Don on the fringe of the town where ex service personnel participate in rehabilitation activities designed to help restore their confidence after the trauma of losing their sight. Many of the veterans stay at the centre for a couple of weeks to learn new skills to help them return to independent living in the community. Their motto is “Life Beyond Sight Loss” and is very fitting for the work they do; it’s a truly inspirational place.
Along with my neighbouring High Sheriff of Gwynnedd Dr Peter Harlech Jones I was a guest of the Chairman of Denbighshire County Council at the north Wales Armed Forces Day. The ceremony included a service to commemorate the fallen of both World Wars and was followed by a display by the RAF’s Falcons parachute team and a flypast by a Spitfire. The event was held in the grounds of Bodelwyddan Castle and was attended by about 8,000 members of the public in glorious weather.
I was pleased to be invited to the launch of the North Wales International Musical Festival at St Asaph Cathedral (the smallest cathedral in the U.K.) for a performance of the work of local composer John
Hoskin. John conducted the New Sinfonia and the St Asaph Festival Choral Society in the world premiere of his Missa pro
defunctis. The performance received a warm reception from the audience.
A celebratory lunch to mark 25 years of Groundwork in Action in north Wales was held at Llyndir Hall Hotel near Wrexham at which awards were made to young volunteers.
I attended a committee meeting of Dangerpoint at the north Wales Fire Service in St
Asaph. Dangerpoint is an organization based at premises in Talacre in Flintshire that provides various scenarios to educate children about the hazards in and around the home, when using public transport and during outdoor activities. The organization is funded by donations from individuals and businesses; during 2015 more than 6,000 children visited
I attended a meeting of the Police and Community Trust (PACT) at the North Wales Police H.Q. in Colwyn Bay where a presentation of the work that the section which deals with Vulnerable Persons was given.
10th May 2016
On what must have been the wettest day in May I attended the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, the day of the Chinese whispers! Despite the rain my consort and I had a very enjoyable day. Her Majesty was in her usual good form, a true inspiration to everyone present. As many will know, the arrangements for the garden parties are carried out with military precision, even the sandwiches were space to the exact
Wrexham is one of the four counties in the jurisdiction of the High Sheriff of Clwyd and it was my pleasure to attend my first Citizenship ceremony at Wrexham Civic Centre when nine Candidates became U.K. citizens. Many of the Candidates were of eastern European origin in keeping with the large number of people from that region who are attracted to north east Wales by the work opportunities in its many large manufacturing plants.
Denbighshire is another one of the counties in the High Sheriff of Clwyd jurisdiction and I attended my first Citizenship ceremony held in Ruthin Town Hall. Ruthin is a market town and the administrative centre of the County of Denbighshire. It is steeped in history and scandal and famous for its castle and jail, a place my predecessor High Sheriffs would no doubt have visited on many occasions. On my visit however, as the photograph shows, the High Sheriff was left holding the baby!
One of my chosen charities is the Saint Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph, Denbighshire, a place very dear to my heart. Not being superstitious, on Friday the 13th May I held a charity dinner at College Cambria in Oakenholt, Flintshire to raise money to fund a Hospice nurse to undertake studies leading to an Advanced Nursing Practitioner qualification.
The event was attended by 160 guests and whereas my target was to raise £7,500, I was delighted that on the night the amount raised was £13,200. No doubt the Hospice will make good use of the additional funds. This result was made possible by the generosity of my friends and business colleagues and I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for their support.
I returned to Mold in Flintshire for my second Citizenship ceremony in that county. It was a pleasure to welcome the Candidates; for many of them it had been a long journey to U.K. Citizenship.
One of the awards granted by our Crimebeat committee was to the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Team of “Flintshire Sorted” that enabled students from local High Schools to make a fifteen minute video about the perils of being drawn into a drug and alcohol culture. The premiere was held at County Hall in Mold and the students will take the video to other high schools in the region to spread the word (as they put it).
16th April 2016 - Citizenship Ceremony at Llandudno.
The town of Llandudno in Conwy lies nestled in a bay between the Great Orme and Little Orme headlands on the westerly border of the Clwyd Shrievalty. Citizenship ceremonies are held on Saturday mornings and on the 16th April I had the privilege to welcome thirteen new citizens to the venue at Llandudno Town Hall. Perhaps the most impressive of the candidates for Citizenship was the young
lady (pictured) who announced she would not only make her Affirmation in Welsh but she also sang the Welsh anthem at the closing of the ceremony!
12th April 2016 - Dinner with High Court Judge Mr Justice Alastair MacDonald.
On the 12th April I had the pleasure of entertaining Mr Justice MacDonald at Soughton Hall close to Mold Crown Court where he was sitting at the time. It was my first such endeavour as High Sheriff and I’m grateful to Justice MacDonald and my other guests for making it such a relaxed and enjoyable evening.
7th April 2016 - Citizenship Ceremony at Mold.
The Shrieval 'patch' of the preserved County of Clwyd encompasses four counties in north Wales; Flintshire, Wrexham, Denbighshire and Conwy and throughout my year in office I will be attending Citizenship ceremonies in the main towns of all four counties. It was certainly a case of hitting the ground running when I attended my first Citizenship ceremony at Mold just five days after my Declaration.
Like so many High Sheriffs I was humbled to hear the stories of some of the nine candidates for Citizenship. No doubt there will be many more stories of the path to Citizenship to be listened to as my year progresses.
2nd April 2016 - Declaration Ceremony at Mostyn Hall.
I was delighted that Lord Gregory Mostyn opened his home Mostyn Hall for my Declaration ceremony on the 2nd April. The origins of the Hall and its occupancy by the Mostyn family date back to the 14th century and it provided a beautiful and welcoming venue for the occasion.
I was honoured by the attendance of the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh OBE and Judges Rhys Rowlands and Roger Dutton. Magistrate Mrs Julia Nash witnessed my signing of the Declaration and in attendance were Mrs Janet Evans my predecessor High Sheriff and my Under Sheriff Mr Henry Wilson.
My thanks is due to the many family and friends who travelled from throughout the U.K and from overseas to share in the occasion with me; and also to the guard of honour provided by the Sea and Royal Marine Cadets from T.S. Tucan at Connahs Quay. I’m also indebted to the staff of Mostyn Hall who provided such a wonderful service at the post-Declaration reception.
here to view the Clwyd News published in the Summer 2017
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Clwyd News published in the Summer 2014
edition of The High Sheriff magazine