High Sheriffs Awards
1st August 2017
Visit to Volition, Manchester
Gerry and Joanne were invited to visit Volition by Tony Maunders,
their Volunteer Programme Co-Ordinator who Gerry first met at a meeting
with the Dean of Manchester earlier in the year.
They were welcomed
by John Emsley, his fellow Volunteer Programme Co-Ordinator as Tony had an
earlier 'run in' with one of their bees and was feeling a little 'stung
over'! They also met Nicky, one of Volitions many success stories. She
came to Volition for help in finding work after taking a break from
employment to look after her child. They were so impressed with her that
they employed her themselves and she is doing a sterling job!
were then joined by Anthony O'Connor, Director of Fundraising &
Development, who explained the background of Volition.
in 2011 and was launched by Manchester Cathedral with just 15 volunteers.
They used the simple but effective idea that the Cathedral was a key place
in the city that could bring key players together to make a difference and
that people will help other people if only you know how to ask. They
believed that volunteering could play a big role in tackling poverty,
social exclusion and ultimately reduce unemployment.
They identify roles, projects and areas of community action where
unemployed people can become a volunteer and work closely with GMFRS to
create alternative volunteering options with a clear community focus. They
then support them back to work with employers already on board as their
They have some key values, things they believe in and
include in everything they do:
• no goodbyes, we have time for you no
• choice and free will achieves outcomes
relationships not ticks in boxes makes the difference
• constancy, will
always be here
• collaboration, people helping people
to up skill, retrain and move on their volunteers to bigger and better
things, with the support of their extensive and award winning Employer
Partnership – businesses that go the extra mile, simply because they want
to. They bring a wide range of added value to the support offered to
volunteers such as work related training, mock interviews, and mentoring.
Volition volunteers are exactly that – volunteers. They can stay with
Volition as long as they want to, and return whenever they need to. In
fact some volunteers who have found a job as a result of the support of
Volition, still volunteer with them or mentor other volunteers. There are
The CEO of Smart Works, Fiona Gunnion, who Gerry and
Joanne visited back in June, has also been in touch with Volition to tell
them all about how they help women to get back into work.
They were then taken to the roof top of the Print Works where Volition
has a vegetable patch, a greenhouse where huge cabbages and cherry
tomatoes are grown by hydroponics (in a watery solution of mineral
nutrients instead of soil) and four hives! It was a beautiful and restful
place, with bees, butterflies and lots of delicious looking vegetables and
fruits. A little oasis in the centre of the city. Gerry and Joanne could
easily understand the therapy that it provides for Volition's volunteers.
They were kindly shown around by Fred Booth, director of the Print
Works who is also a fellow Trustee of the Manchester based charity
Disabled Living with Gerry. Gerry noticed that there were no pigeons
around the garden, which he found unusual and Fred told him that wasn't
surprising as there were some peregrine falcons nesting nearby!
He also kindly gave them a guided tour of the heart of the Print Works
and showed them many old and interesting photographs.
to the tale is that Gerry met up with Tony again a few days later and he
had recovered completely from his encounter with the bees. He said that it
was completely his fault as he hadn't kept his mouth shut and a bee had
promptly flown inside! Ouch!
He was proud to update Gerry with the
information that the honey harvest was due to take place in September and
they were expecting to fill about 150 jars. Gerry, a real honey lover, has
put in an order in advance!
The High Sheriff's Mayoral Dinner
Gerry and Joanne were delighted to invite the Mayors, Mayoresses and
Consorts from all the boroughs across Greater Manchester to dinner at his
restaurant, Yang Sing Cathay on 3rd July 2017.
He was delighted to
receive a full turn out!
They were all driven to the Trafford Centre by
their incredibly organised Mayoral Attendants, who all know each other and work
together like a well oiled machine!
The Trafford Centre very kindly
allowed the High Sheriff to use their Management Car Park, were everyone was met
by the High Sheriff's PA and escorted to the restaurant by a member of the
Trafford centre Team.
Once they were received by Gerry and Joanne and
safely in the restaurant, the Mayoral Attendants retired to their own table
where they too enjoyed a Cantonese banquet.
Gerry and Joanne had never
seen so many Mayors, Mayoresses and Consorts together before and it was agreed
that an appropriate collective noun would either be a 'magnificence of mayors'
or maybe, rather tongue in cheek 'a chain gang'!
They had a pleasant evening,
getting to know each other, so that the High Sheriff's office can work closely
with all the Mayoral Offices during the year.
Gerry explained about the
role of High Sheriff, both its history and his current jobs. He shared some of
his experiences to date and told them about some of the places he had visited,
including spreading the word about Smart Works as he had promised.
also promised that he would attend at least one Citizenship Ceremony in every
borough, told them about the High Sheriff's Award and that he would be happy to
attend any events of functions to which he could add value.
and really positive evening was had by all.
4th July 2017
The High Sheriff's Judges' Dinner
This was the High Sheriff's Judges' Dinner for judges! Even the majority of
the guests were from the legal profession.
The food was delicious and the
conversation flowed. It was agreed that a good dinner did not only rely on the
excellence of the food. At a later date when people discussed a dinner that they
had really enjoyed, what they remembered was the company and the atmosphere.
As a good time was had by all, the conclusion that everyone came to was that
they had definitely enjoyed each other's company and the conversation.
fact, one of the legal profession who shall remain nameless, commented that last
time they had attended one of Gerry's dinners they had been reprimanded for
arriving back late to the Judges' Lodgings! Rather than stating that they would
endeavour to be home on time on this occasion, the quip was: 'Let's do it
10th July 2017
The High Sheriff's Dinner
and Joanne were delighted to share an evening with fellow High Sheriffs and
spouses from Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria, as well as the
Communications Director from the Duchy of Lancaster and her husband.
idea was to get to know each other better, to learn from each other and to
exchange ideas over dinner at Gerry's restaurant, Yang Sing Cathay at the
It was a very successful evening.
that it is a privilege to hold the office of High Sheriff and that it was
allowing them to see many different aspects of their counties to which they
would not normally have access.
They also agreed that their job was to make
connections, bring people together and to become inspired as well as to inspire.
In fact they were all so enthusiastic about their role that they joked that
they should ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament and let all the High Sheriff's
run the country!!!
11th July 2017
University of Bolton Degree Congregation -
Degree Congregation was held in the Albert Halls in Bolton.
Halls is a beautiful colonnaded neoclassical Victorian Grade II listed building,
part Town Hall and part Theatre.
It was built between 1866 and 1873 for the
County Borough of Bolton to designs by William Hill of Leeds and George
Woodhouse of Bolton. The town hall was extended in the 1930s to the designs of
Bradshaw, Gass & Hope.
They even discovered that, in 1978 Fred Dibnah
made repairs to the clock tower and its 16 stone pillars and whilst repairing
the tower he gilded the sphere at the top.
Gerry and Joanne were to
attend lunch before the ceremony and had a parking place secured at Cheadle
Square. However, they got temporarily lost in the one way system when they
missed the entrance to the bollard being up! A huge thank you to the Development
Director, Martyn Shaw, who eventually rescued them! Gerry is currently working
with Martyn to develop educational collaboration between the University of
Bolton and Shanghai.
During lunch they were honoured to be introduced to
the Chancellor of the University, the Earl of St Andrews, who was very warm and
learned that he is very interested in cultural diversity and building bridges
between civilizations. This interest is mirrored within the University and in
particular represented by the Centre for Islamic Finance. His impact has
obviously been greatly valued.
They also met the two gentlemen who were
to be presented Honorary Doctorates on that afternoon by the Earl of St Andrews.
Ian Savage became a Doctor of the University for his outstanding services to
the Media. The Bolton News has been the mainstay of the local community since
1867 and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. It is Ian's task to put the
award-winning newspaper together six days a week! Ian began his career as a
trainee reporter at the Bury Times in 1985. He quickly climbed the ranks to
senior reporter and then moved on to the Bolton Evening News. He had a brief
stint with the Manchester Evening News in the early 1990's, returned to the Bury
Times as Editor for three years and then became Editor of Bolton News in 2008.
Tawfic Khoury became a Doctor of Engineering for his outstanding services to
Civil Engineering. He was born in the Lebanon, graduated from the University of
California and has risen to become Executive Vice Chairman of the largest
construction company in the Middle East: Consolidated Contractors Company. He
has also overseen the adoption of industry-leading technology throughout the
They also met Yannis Katsaounis, who had been presented with his Doctorate
of Business Administration for his outstanding services to International
Services that morning. He was born in Greece and started his professional career
in Athens in 1975. Two years later he started his own construction company,
Plexus Ltd and then became involved in the technical department of Flour Mills
of Nigeria in 1985. He is now Director, Executive Member of the Board of
Directors and leads a team of engineering and procurement staff. Excitingly, he
is also a World Champion Maxi Yacht racer and a rally driver, driving at an
incredible 200 mph!
After lunch Gerry joined in the procession into the
beautiful and majestic hall, to the rousing Prince of Denmark's march by J
Clarke and the audience remained standing for the National Anthem.
Congregation began with an introduction by Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi and
presentations were made to many happy and proud students.
an honour to be included in such a distinguished day.
Civil Remembrance Service in
Commemoration of Srebnrenica Memorial Day held in Manchester Cathedral
This is the
most powerful, sobering, disturbing, harrowing and emotional experience that
Gerry and Joanne have had since the beginning of the Shrieval Year.
is written and shared here cannot even scrape the surface of the dreadful
atrocity which occurred in 1995.
Even being a part of this service was heart
wrenching and made everyone there ask soul searching questions about human
Srebrenica and an area of 30 square miles around the town was declared a UN
Safe Area in 1993, but this promise fell through when an unbelievable genocide
On 12th July 1995 the Bosnian Serb Army began separating all men
aged 12-77. They were escorted to a large house for questioning.
women and children were deported over the next 30 hours.
The men held in
the house were driven away. All their possessions were burned. Over the next few
days Bosnian Serb soldiers brutally slaughtered 8, 372 men in Srebrenica alone.
The Column of 15,000 men set off on foot to try to reach Tuzla, over 100km
away. They were shelled on their journey and a mere 3,000 survived.
estimated that somewhere between 20 - 50,00 women were raped during the war in
Bosnia. Women were imprisoned in gyms, hotels, abandoned houses and
concentration camps. They were raped with guns, truncheons and broken bottles.
A horrible, unforgivable, systematically planned ethnic cleansing
The service was termed 'Breaking the Silence' because most of
the women treated in such a brutal and inhuman way wanted to keep it under
wraps, hide it, never talk about it, because they thought of their indescribable
experiences as shameful.
Bishop David Walker began the service with an
opening prayer and spoke movingly of the background of the conflict.
Robina Shah JP DL, introduced and coordinated speakers with empathy and quiet
strength. In 2016 she travelled to Bosnia and has since helped to organise a
hate crime conference in Manchester to raise awareness. A painful but
inspirational film was then shown entitled 'Breaking the Silence' and Bakira
Hasecic gave a harrowing account of her personal experiences.
15 year old daughter had been raped in front of her.
The account was
particularly heart wrenching as this took place in her own home, where she lived
with her husband and two daughters. They had a decent life. When the war began,
their next door neighbour was a policeman and they knew him well. They
considered him a friend. One day, without warning, he brought 15 soldiers into
their home. He pretended that he did not know the family.
She sobbed as
she described to the congregation how the soldiers took it in turns to
repeatedly rape her and her eldest daughter in front of the family.
Afterwards her daughters were sent away to live with their Grandmother.
She and her husband remained and one day she was summoned to an Official's
office. They tried to make her drink spirits, which she refused. She was then
After this, she and her husband decided to leave. When they
returned after the war was over, they discovered that the police and soldiers
were still in positions of authority. They taunted them.
None of the
women would speak up because they felt ashamed of what had happened to them.
The war claimed 17 members of Bakira's family including her sister who was
held captive and repeatedly raped before being killed. Her remains were later
found in three separate mass graves.
She finally found the strength to
speak out.. She established the Association of Women Victims of War. This has
become her reason for living and she encourages other women to speak out and
David Walker, Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen and Assia Shah said heartfelt prayers.
Light spoke about Hate Crime and We Stand Together defining the characteristics
of hate as prejudice and Elinor Chohan spoke about Remembering Srebrenica.
Remembering Srebrenica works in three areas to tackle hatred and to create
better, safer, more cohesive societies for everyone: by remembering, learning
and therefore pledging to stand up to hatred and intolerance.
from the National Theatre of Sarajevo performed music traditional to
Bosnia-Herzegovina that was performed throughout the war as a way to remind
people to try to live, as well as to try to survive.
In this part of the
world we watch TV and war and conflict seem a huge distance away. Did we not
realise what was happening or was it that we turned our faces away and ignored
it until it was too late - until the mass graves were discovered?
learn a lesson that, however hard it is to face, we should not hide from the
truth and that in the future we should fight against such evil.
only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'
'Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing, because he could only do
'Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.'
'We share in the grief of those whose loss can never be
repaired. And we pay homage to those who died. May their souls rest in peace.
May we all learn, and act on, the lessons of Srebrenica.'
Kate Green MP made powerful closing remarks.
The service ended with a
poignant prayer from Bishop David Walker, whose words resonated around the
cathedral.............and a poignant one minute of respectful and powerful
16th July 2017
The Royal British Legion Greater
Manchester County Annual Church Service
Gerry and Joanne were invited to attend the Royal British Legion Greater
Manchester County Annual Church Service at the beautiful St James' Church in
They were graciously received by David Brown, Greater Manchester
County Chairman and Membership Council representative for Greater Manchester and
Lancashire, and were pleased to meet up again with the majority of the Mayor's
in Greater Manchester as well as catching up with the new Vice Lord Lieutenant,
The music from the Band and Drums of the Royal Regiment
of Fusiliers (Lancashire) played rousingly and inspiringly before the service as
well as at various times during it.
Gerry and Joanne learned that the band, based in Bury, currently has around
30 members, with the drums numbering around 20. Not only do they play regularly
in the local area, they also travel the length and breadth of the country and
have performed abroad, as well as producing two CDs.
the Church Warden, welcomed the congregation, who then sang together 'All
people that on earth do dwell'.
There were readings by Mr David
Brown, Mr Terry Whittles RBL National Chairman, as well as an inspiring talk by
a Gorton Historian, Mr Frank Rhodes, who spoke about Gorton in WW1 and the
Heroes Wood Project.
Reverend Jane Walker of St James' gave the sermon and Reverend Michael
Williams offered prayers.
Commander David Forbes MBE, County Vice President said the Exhortation and the
Kohima Epitaph, between which was the haunting Last Post, a minute's silence and
The congregation stood and sang The National Anthem, and the British Legion
March was played as the Standards processed from the church.
Joanne very much enjoyed the performance of Magnetise by the Wright Robinson
College Choir during the service, who also entertained everyone afterwards
during the Strawberry Cream Tea served in Collier House
There were many parents of the choir members, as well as dignitaries, at the
service and at the delicious tea.
and Joanne were delighted to meet with Curtis Dillon, whose daughter Holly sang
beautifully. They learned that Wright Robinson College was in Abbey Hey and had
been voted Outstanding by Ofsted. Curtis was also a past pupil of the school. He
and Gerry joked that it must have got much better after he had left!! He was
very proud of his daughter....and rightly so.
18th July 2017
Citizenship Ceremony in Salford
Usually, as a Stockport DL, Gerry only carries out Citizenship Ceremonies in
Stockport or Manchester. However, he has promised all the Mayor's within Greater
Manchester that he will try his best to attend a Citizenship Ceremony in each of
their boroughs during his year as High Sheriff.
18th July was the turn of
The Salford Register Office and Town Hall is actually situated
in Swinton and Gerry and Joanne were grateful to the Office for arranging a car
park space for them and for meeting them as they arrived.
People from ten
or more countries, including Pakistan, Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Congo and
Malaysia, were present at the ceremony as they became British Citizens.
Gerry shared the ceremony with the Mayor of Salford, Cllr Peter Connor and Sue
He explained to the new British Citizens that he was there 'wearing two
hats', as a DL and also as High Sheriff. He shared some of the history of his
role as High Sheriff, as well as that of the Lieutenancy Office and was
delighted and proud to share their special day.
everyone that his personal experience of life in Britain has been nothing but
positive. He has found that the words that are often used to describe British
values - justice and fairness, tolerance and liberty - are all true. That we
have a society with many fine institutions, with many checks and balances, and
as a result the rules of Law are properly exercised. That we also have a society
with great generosity and community spirit - just think of the number of
charities and voluntary organisations out there and that today, the words,
'multi-cultural' and 'diverse', should be added to being British - a wonderful
illustration of this fact could be seen by looking around at everyone in the
offered greetings from the Queen, the Lord Lieutenant, the Lieutenancy Office
and the High Sheriff's Office!
After the ceremony, Gerry and Joanne
really enjoyed listening to some of the stories from the new British Citizens
and joining in many photo sessions.
......... As an epilogue, Gerry met with a Malaysian lady and her husband in the
Trafford Centre who had been at the ceremony. They came over to speak to him,
had a warm exchange and were introduced to her parents. A lovely addition to a
very proud day.
19th July 2017
Pitch@Palace on Tour 8.0 at
Open Future_North, Oldham
Today brought a Royal Visit with a
Gerry and Joanne were invited to attend Pitch@Palace on Tour,
hosted by the Duke of York. This pitch was held at Open Future_North , the new
Oldham based accelerator run by Wayra UK, the accelerator programme which is
part of Telefonica Open Future.
As an entrepreneur himself, although not
in the Tech sphere, Gerry was intrigued to be given a chance to be part of the
audience for some of the day's pitches, as well as being honoured to meet the
Duke of York again.
As they arrived, they met with the Mayor and Mayoress
of Oldham. They also met last year's winners, from Howz and Offer Moments - more
about them later - and their old friend, Colin Tan, who was there as a judge.
Colin is Entrepreneur in Residence at Dorforge Impact in Manchester.
The Conference began upstairs and the Civic Line Up waited downstairs to
greet the Duke of York as he arrived. As the Civic Line Up was completed they
waited on the stairs as the inspirational and motivational keynote speech by
Lord Andrew Mawson OBE came to an end. Prince Andrew was very patient as he
waited. This had obviously happened before!
Oli Barrett MBE, the co-founder of entrepreneurship campaign, StartUp
Britain, social action agency Cospa Tenner and the Make Your Mark with a Tenner
Campaign to name but a few - then introduced last year's Pitch@Palace Winners
with his very impressive and smooth presenting skills.
First was Louise Rogerson from Howz. Louise is a Chartered Neuro-
Physiotherapist and Director of Service Development. Howz have a new product to
help you to stay linked with elderly relatives without disturbing their day to
day life, but give you peace of mind. It analyses electricity usage and uses
other sensor data to understand an elderly person's use of everyday objects,
learning what is normal activity and alerting the family when things look out of
Then came Abdul Alim of offer Moments. He and his partner
were watching a film, complete with popcorn (!) one day when the y had a light
bulb moment! The film contained an animated billboard which talked to one of the
characters. The concept really got them thinking. They created an app for
shoppers telling them about special offers emitted by Offer Beacons as they walk
past stores and food and drink establishments. Once they open them, they have a
limited time to redeem them. The aim is to take their idea international.
They eloquently, enthusiastically and generously shared their experiences
and gave the newcomers tips on how to pitch!
Prince Andrew than spoke
passionately about the competition.
He explained that the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust set up Pitch@Palace CIC
to support his work with entrepreneurs and to help guide and connect them and
early stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, influencers,
angels, mentors and business partners.
It offers the chance to get Tech
businesses in front of a global audience of influencers who can help to catapult
it to the next level.
It was set up in 2014 and has since helped over 400
businesses. There are two Pitches a year and this year's theme was 'The Future
of Mobility & Materials' which covers new materials; autonomous vehicles; human
and social impact; material sustainability and recycling; the supply chain; and
connectivity and 5G.
Winners secure a position at Pitch@Palace Boot Camp
at St James' Palace, where they receive support and guidance on how to develop
and hone their pitch, as well as support with investment, introductions and
Everybody grabbed a quick lunch and then the pitches
They were introduced by Gary Stewart, CEO of Wayra UK, who
was also a mentor. Gary has an eclectic CV! After graduating from Yale Law
School, he started his professional career in Washington and then moved to
London, working at some of the City's most prestigious law firms. A move to
Spain took him on a new path to entrepreneurship, launching a successful on-line
property search engine. Then he joined the world leading IE Business School,
where he became an Associate Professor and Entrepreneur in Residence. He
continues to give back to the entrepreneur community at Wayra UK, as well as
being a Mentor for Pitch@Palace.A very hard working man!
Gerry & Joanne watched the pitches of:-
makes helicopter travel accessible to everyone by creating an on-line platform
that allows users to charter idle helicopters.
which is the first cloud-powered, community based profit sharing platform for
data analysis. By combining the latest technological advancements in smart
algorithms and dynamic coding, ALGOLIB seamlessly delivers big data solutions
BEATSTREAM MEDIA, which is an app that
connects music venues to music lovers, away from venues, allowing venues to
reach a wider audience.
Gerry was fascinated by the pitches, although he
was the first to admit that the middle one went slightly over his head!!
then decided to stay for one more pitch:-
is a Software as a Service platform that assists organisations in attracting and
retaining talent. It makes Job Sharing accessible and easy for organisations to
At this stage, although there were many more pitches to come,
sadly Gerry and Joanne had to leave in order to arrive at a business meeting on
It was definitely a Royal Visit with a twist and they look forward
to finding out which pitches made it through to Boot Camp!
Gerry was very
impressed with the amount of time and dedication that Prince Andrew is putting
into a very inspiring project.
20th July 2017
Visit to N-Gage
at Catalyst Youth Centre in Burnage (www.n-gage.org.uk)
N-Gage is a Manchester based Christian Charity that gives young people (primary
age to 18), who are at risk of educational or social exclusion, opportunities
and skills to achieve their full potential.
It was founded by Christie
Spurling, in response to his own experience of educational exclusion and works
in partnership with schools, police and the City Council. N-Gage is completely
young people centred and committed to working with those most difficult to
reach, loving to see young people engaging with their neighbourhoods and
bringing positive change.
Gerry & Joanne were introduced to N-Gage by one
of their neighbours, who works with the charity.
N-Gage has two
incredible youth buses which travel around the community, as well as a Youth
Centre at Burnage. It provides all sorts of activities - art, singing, music
(piano, drums, guitar), sport, computers - all within a safe space and with
people to listen.
Gerry & Joanne were welcomed by youth workers (Nick,
Helen, Jordan, Gemma and Kelvin) as well as a group of boisterous, energetic and
Gerry told them all about being High Sheriff and they told him all about
They then enjoyed a group photo session, with Gerry's hat and
sword doing the rounds of the kids.
The idea of N-Gage is to make people feel good about themselves and spending
time there with the kids definitely worked for Gerry & Joanne.
A very special place - and both kids and parents obviously agree!
23rd July 2017
Civic Service of Celebration to mark the 40th
Anniversary of the Hale Shule and the 30th Anniversary of Rabbi Joel Portnoy
Gerry and Joanne were delighted to be invited to the Civic Service of
Celebration at Hale Shule on 23rd July 2017. They have many friends who are
Jewish and have attended Jewish weddings and funerals before, but never a
As they arrived they were immediately impressed by the excellent
organisation on the day. People were at the door, welcoming everyone as they
arrived and checking names.
All special guests were assigned a person to
look after them. Gerry and Joanne were greeted by Stephen and Gail Cantor, to
whom they are very grateful for their warmth, patience and care. With the help
of the booklet that they were given and the questions that they asked, Gerry and
Joanne learned so much which enhanced their experience on the day.
already knew, originally, the Temple in Jerusalem was the focal point of Jewish
prayer. This was destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th Century BCE, rebuilt by
Ezra and Nehemiah and destroyed again by the Romans in 70 CE. The only physical
structure that remains is the 'Western Wall', also known as the 'Wailing Wall'
or 'Kotel'. Since that time the main place for communal prayer has been the
Synagogue (meaning 'meeting place'). Many physical sections of the Synagogue are
based on the Temple. There have been Synagogues for over 2500 years and have an
identical layout to the Hale Shule.
Before Hale Shule was built, the
families in the area used to meet together in people's homes. The land was then
donated by Joe Dwek and money was raised to build the Synagogue.
synagogues, as well as being a House of Prayer is also a community centre for
the Jewish Community.
Stephen stayed with Gerry downstairs and Joanne was
taken upstairs by Gail and all men must have their head covered). Orthodox
Jewish men and women sit separately during prayer services as a reminder that
they are there to spend time in devotion to G-d not to each other.
service started with a procession including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi
Joel Portnoy and other religious figures.
The beautiful unaccompanied
singing by Chazan Avromi Freilich assisted by the Ne'imah Singers was inspiring,
pure and uplifting. Both Gerry and Joanne agreed that it was some of the very
best that they had ever heard.
prayers were said for the Royal Family , for the State of Israel and for the
safety of the brethren in Israel.
Everyone was then warmly welcomed by Rabbi
Joel Portnoy and an address was given by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
During his address, the Rabbi congratulated everyone on the 40th Anniversary
of the Synagogue and the achievement of having 350 families who now pray there.
He explained that the Synagogue is a place to meet G-d and each other and a
place from which to reach out to other people. There are any grandparents and
parents who come to the Synagogue, but how do we reach out to the next
He also spoke about a visit that he had made to the Holy
Land, during which he really wanted to go to Jeremiah's Grotto alone to reflect
and contemplate. It was Christmas Day, snowing very heavily and when he arrived
it was freezing cold but peaceful. There didn't appear to be anyone there.
Then someone ran over to him. The man was very excited, hugged him, thanked
G-d that someone had arrived and then ran off.
The Rabbi explained that
it is a tradition that the grotto cannot be left un-occupied, so his arrival had
allowed the other man to leave!
He was now alone and enjoyed the peace as
he prayed. However, after half an hour he was very cold. One hour later, someone
else turned up and the Rabbi responded in exactly the same way as the man who
had greeted him - thanking G-d that he had come.
He used this story as an
illustration that all traditions must be passed on and that until we have passed
them on to the next generation we cannot 'leave'.
He referred to Rabbi
Joel Portnoy as 'legendary' and congratulated him on 30 years of service.
He spoke passionately and eloquently with an inner peace and joy - and
completely without notes.
The Ark was opened. This is a cupboard which
holds the sacred Torah Scrolls (sometimes quite ornate and splendid) and is the
focal point of the interior of the Synagogue, on the Eastern Wall. All
Synagogues are designed so that the Ark faces Jerusalem. This direction is
The Torah Scrolls are handwritten in Hebrew by a scribe
with a quill pen on parchment, which takes between a year and 18 months to
The Ark is called the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) and is covered by
a curtain (Parochet). The embroidered design at Hale Shule represents the Bet
Hamikdash - the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. A light is kept continually burning
in front of the Ark, just as it was in the Temple.
Prayers were said for World Peace and for the Community & its Founders.
There were also prayers for former Rabbis and Founders. This final prayer was
only said by a few people and later Gerry asked why this was. Stephen explained
that this prayer was only said by people who have had a close relative pass away
in the last year. They then say a prayer in honour of them every time they are
in the Synagogue for a whole year. Stephen said a prayer because his Mother had
passed away three months ago.
After the prayers, the Ark was closed.
Concluding remarks and thanks were made by the President, Neil Rosenthal. He
also read out a message of congratulation from the Prime Minister, who said that
this was a time when all faiths should work together and be united.
The service ended and was followed by a reception when Gerry and Joanne very
much enjoyed talking to everyone, swapping stories and expressing their sincere
thanks that they had been allowed to share in such a joyful afternoon.
24th July 2017
Manchester Metropolitan University Graduation Ceremony
at Bridgewater Hall
School of Teacher Education & Professional Development
PGCE Secondary Education
Department of Professional Development & Education
who was honoured to be awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration (Honoris
Causa) by MMU in 2009, was proud to be invited to attend a Graduation Ceremony
held at Manchester's prestigious Bridgewater Hall in his shrieval year.
He and Joanne arrived and met with the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Presiding
Officer, Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard; Dr Paul Bevan, Change Programme
Director; Professor Jennifer Watling, Pro-Vice Chancellor International;
Professor Alison Chambers, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Faculty of Health, Psychology
& Social Care and Professor Ian Barron, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor of the
Faculty of Education. As they were robing, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr
Eddy Newman, also arrived with his Lady Mayoress and daughter, Naomi Newman who
currently works at MMU.
Before the ceremony, a selection of classical, baroque and contemporary
works was played by Mr Darius Battiwalla, concert organist and tutor at the
Royal Northern College of Music.
took part in the Entry Procession, a formal procession which marks the opening
of the Ceremony of Awards and is lead by the Macebearer.
The current Mace
was a gift from the Dean of the Manchester School of Art, which celebrated 175
years of history in 2013 and was designed by Dr Angus McFadyen (a former student
and lecturer at MMU). It exemplifies the highest quality of skills and
craftsmanship which are taught at the University. In 2014 it was entered for the
Goldsmiths' Craft and Design Council Awards run by the Worshipful Company of
Goldsmiths and won a silver prize in the Senior Silversmithing category. It
symbolises authority and protection.
Six members of Staff also carry the
ceremonial staves, also designed by Dr Angus McFayden.
As the procession
reached the stage, four rows of seats were filled with robed staff from the
relevant departments of MMU.
short introduction by the Presiding Officer, Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard, the
Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Education, Prof. Ian Barron's
Address took place. He described the ceremony as one of life's special moments.
He congratulated the students (from Hulme to Hong Kong!) and the staff for their
commitment and dedication. MMU has been educating teachers, practitioners and
professionals in allied areas for over 100 years. The Education Faculty has
worldwide links, including Europe, Nigeria, Chine and USA. They also have a new
PGCE course in Mandarin. He wished the students happiness, fulfilment and every
success. He advised that they be proud of themselves,. Be confident and be
passionate about everything that they did.
Next came the Presentation of the Students, accompanied by enthusiastic
clapping, whistling, cheering and whooping, as they proudly walked across the
stage and were greeted with a hand shake by the Deputy Vice Chancellor.
Valedictory Address was made by Stephen Oliver. Stephen is an ex-governor who
worked for Unilever and Scottish & Newcastle as Marketing Manager and Brand
Director. He then set up his own business, Trig Point - a coaching company. He
has a deep understanding of how business works and how to motivate positive
His daughter is an alumni of MMU who studied in Community Arts and Drama
eight years ago. She a member of the Senior Teaching Staff on a school in a
deprived area of Glasgow. She has been able to motivate her students and always
starts the year by sharing them a quotation from Nadiya Hussain who won Great
British Bake Off in 2015!
"I'm never gonna put boundaries on myself ever
again. I'm never gonna say I can't do it. I'm never gonna say 'maybe'. I'm never
gonna say 'I don't think I can'. I can and I will."
He reminded the
students that as graduates in Education they have a unique opportunity to make a
difference to people's lives. They can enthuse, motivate and pass on knowledge.
He encouraged them to be brave, be positive, to make a difference and to realise
that there are no limits.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor ended the Ceremony
by asking all the students to give themselves a round of applause, give the
staff a round of applause and then to stand up, face their parents, friends and
family and give them a huge round of applause to thank them for their support.
He reminded them that they were capable of achieving anything and were on the
threshold of an exciting future in which they could inspire others as they had
been inspired. They should live their lives with resilience, inclusiveness,
tolerance and respect; which are fundamental to our way of life.
concluded that they must be full of pride, excitement, delight and relief and
looking forward to the future with hope and anticipation.
combination of the enthusiasm and positivity of the students and the incredible
acoustics of the Bridgewater Hall the applause grew and lifted into a joyous
tumult as the procession exited the Hall.
24th July 2017
Perception of Western China - Lowry Theatre
and Joanne were delighted to be invited by Lisa Yam, Chairman of the Federation
of Chinese Associations, to attend a performance of the show, Perception of
Western China. The performance showcased and promoted Chinese minority cultures
and the songs and dances were performed by the Yunnan Province Song & Dance
Ensemble, whose work is well known in China.
Gerry arrived in his
uniform, having come straight from an MMU Graduation Ceremony at the Bridgewater
Hall. His sword caused quite a security stir as he arrived at the Lowry Theatre
and was taken into custody by the staff, who looked after it during the
Present at the performance was the Consul General, Dr Sun
Dali and the Deputy Consul General, Mr Lai Bo with their wives An Li and Xu
It was also attended by the Mayors of Salford, Stockport and
Rochdale and the new Vice Lord Lieutenant, Paul Griffiths was also present.
Before the performance began, speeches were made by the Deputy Head of the
Communist Party of China Central Committee, Lu Wei, the Consul General and Lisa
Lu Wei said: "Both China and the UK are important
representatives of Oriental and Occidental civilizations. The cultural exchanges
between the two countries have been going on for hundreds of years and played an
irreplaceable role in promoting mutual understanding between the two peoples."
He hopes more people in the UK will become familiar with China's
Yunnan is China's most diverse province and
situated in the far south west of the country. It contains snow-capped mountains
as well as tropical environments. During summer, the Great Plateau of Tibet acts
as a barrier to the monsoon winds, trapping moisture and making it hot, humid
and lush. Interestingly, it has the highest diversity of plant life in the
country and although it is less that 4% of China in size, it contains about half
of China's birds and mammals, including the Indochinese tiger, the Asian
elephant and the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey. It is also famous for Pu erh Tea and
terraced rice fields.
One of its most beautiful areas is the tropical rainforest of Xishuangbanna,
where there is a peacock breeding area. It is the only oasis desert on the
tropic of cancer in the world and one of China's top ten most beautiful forests.
Gerry and Joanne would love to visit Xishuangbanna at some stage, but I
don't think that they will have time this year!
The name literally means
'South of the Clouds' and of China's 55 officially recognised ethnic minorities,
25 can be found in Yunnan.
The performances, of which there were 15,
illustrated the beauty and colour of the province, even including one named: Dai
Dance - The Peacock.
colourful, vibrant and invigorating evening - full of life and creativity.
end of the performance all the dignitaries were asked to go on stage and meet
the cast. This turned into a n interesting photo session and Gerry and Joanne
very much enjoyed talking to the talented supple dancers and singers.
left the theatre with minds and hearts full of colour and music ....and Gerry
even remembered to reclaim his sword!
25th July 2017
in Court with the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, Hi Honour Judge David
The High Sheriff was honoured to be invited to sit in Court at the Courts of
Justice, Crown Square, Manchester by the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, His
Honour Judge David Stockdale QC.
Mrs Yeung, having never been summoned to
perform Jury Service, was also very interested to attend and HHJ Stockdale very
kindly extended the invitation to her.
Gerry and Joanne arrived at Crown
Square and were met by HHJ Stockdale's clerk, Ray, who escorted them to his
The morning did not start according to plan as the Defendant did not
turn up! The etiquette if the court room is the Judge does not enter until
everyone is present and the case is ready to commence. That being the case, HHJ
Stockdale remained in his office, awaiting a summons from his Clerk.
Clerk appeared with a letter provided by the Defence Barrister. The letter was
from a psychiatrist stating that the Defendant was suffering from depression.
The letter did not state that he was unfit to attend Court.
considered the position and checked similar cases. The letter had not been
expected as the Defendant had only been in his Barrister's office a few days ago
and had stated the he was ready to attend Court and wanted to clear his name.
HHJ Stockdale's conclusion was that the trial should go ahead.
the Clerk to contact the Police and request that they bring the Defendant to
As it happens, the late appearance of the Defendant actually
provided a lot of time for HHJ Stockdale, Gerry & Joanne to talk about the legal
world and also about some very interesting and intriguing cases. They also
learned that it costs circa £8,000 to set up a day in Court!
much more from his words of wisdom than simply the procedural matters of the
By lunch time the Defendant had still not been found. Gerry and
Joanne joined HHJ Stockdale for lunch. They also met with HHJ Cross QC, with who
Gerry was scheduled to carry out an Award Ceremony on the following Monday, as
well as other Judges and a young intern called Angus James Russell who had
studied at St Andrew's University. He had special permission to enter the
Judges' Dining Room that day, as it is not usually accessible to interns! This
was because he had visited China a few times and had learned some Mandarin, so
he and Gerry (whose first language is Cantonese) practised together. It turned
out that one of the expressions he had learned was how to order a beer, which
was the first thing that Gerry and Joanne's daughter, So Yi learned to say in
Mandarin too! He had also attended Manchester Grammar School and one of his
closest friends was the son of two of Gerry & Joanne's friends! It's a small
At 2:00 pm the Defendant arrived
The Jury of 15 people were in
another room and HHJ Stockdale sent his Clerk to inform them.
Stockdale entered the Court, informed the Barristers that the case was to
proceed and gave directions as to how the case was to be managed over the next
three days in order that it would come to a conclusion, as it had actually
commenced in October 2015.
Fifteen potential members of the Jury then came into Court,
twelve were selected and three were requested to leave. The twelve were then
The Prosecution Barrister spoke to the Jury about the case, the
details of which were that the Defendant had befriended a man in his late 60's.
He did some jobs for him in the house and the man paid him in cash. The man was
in the habit of keeping cash in the house ( a few £1,000), but decided that
because the Defendant was there he would move it to the boot of his car because
he thought it was safer. However, because he repeatedly went to the boot of the
car to obtain cash, the Defendant soon became aware of its whereabouts. The
money disappeared and the man believed that the Defendant had stolen it. He
spoke to two female relatives about the matter. They went to see the Defendant.
He admitted that he had taken the money but promised the he would return it. He
did not. They then reported the matter to the Police. However, the Defendant
then denied that he had stolen the money. He had only said he had taken the
money because he was frightened.
The Defendant then complained that he
could not hear properly and Court was adjourned whilst a loop was set up.
A video interview then took place with a witness for the prosecution.
By this stage it was 4:00 pm and Gerry and Joanne had to leave the Court
because they had a business meeting to attend.
They do not know the
result of the case.
It was a fascinating taste and sight of a world with
which they had previously had very little experience. They hope to be able to
make another visit before Gerry's shrieval year comes to an end.
judiciary process may sometimes appear to be tedious and is undoubtedly
expensive. However, for all its faults, our criminal justice system is the envy
of the world and many delegates within the legal profession visit the UK
specifically to learn from us.
26th July 2017
Citizenship Ceremony in Wigan
Gerry & Joanne
safely drew up in the parking space kindly organised by the very helpful Jo
O'Connor in the Mayoral Office. Wigan Town Hall has a rather involved history.
The present Town Hall is the third building used for this purpose in Wigan. The
original was constructed in 1720 by the Earl of Barrymore and Sir Robert
Bradshaigh, the town's representatives in Parliament. It was demolished in 1882.
The second was built on a plot at the corner of King Street and Rodney
Street between 1866 & 1867. It was designed by local architects Nuttall & Cook
and had a two storey Italianate style structure. It cost £12,000 to build, which
is equivalent to about £17.5 million today! It was used until 1990.
current Town Hall was formerly the Wigan Mining & Technical College, which was
built between 1901 and 1903 by Briggs & Wolstenholme in Flemish Baroque style
and was designated as a Grade II Listed Building in 1990.
received Gerry and Joanne at the entrance and they were then accompanied by the
Mayoral Attendant to the Mayoral Parlour.
The High Sheriff, the Mayor and
Mayoress and a very smart Army Cadet by the name of Chloe Evans processed into
the Atrium, led by the Mayoral attendant carrying the ceremonial mace.
The Atrium has plaques all around the room recording the names of all the
Mayors of Wigan since 1282, which was the year that Wigan received a Royal
Charter. In those days only the rich and powerful became the Mayor and Gerry
noticed that many names were repeated and came back for a second year.
The Registrar invited Gerry to speak and he welcomed the new British
Citizens , who were originally from Poland, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia and
Jamaica, .and told them about his own history and the role of High Sheriff.
The Mayor then spoke briefly and presented certificates them all. It was a
traditional and very welcoming ceremony.
Everyone then shared tea and
refreshments and Gerry and Joanne enjoyed the chance to talk to most people and
to take photographs.
They talked to a Polish couple and told them that they had been to a Polish
wedding the previous summer. It was agreed by all that Polish weddings are very
joyous occasions, involving many meals and much vodka! The gentleman was an
engineer and the couple had only taken half a day off to collect his
certificate. They were very surprised and delighted by the ceremony, which they
were not expecting, and sadly had to rush off very soon to go back to work!
The Nigerian gentleman was a Care Worker and was married to an English lady.
He had been in UK for many years. They have just had a baby, who had lovely
eyes! His Mum and his sister also attended the ceremony. They were all very keen
to have photographs taken with Gerry and Joanne.
After the ceremony, Gerry and Joanne returned to the Mayor's Parlour, within
which is an office and a very spacious reception room. The room contained very
many interesting artefacts , antique furniture and a beautiful fireplace and had
an interesting chat with the Mayor & Mayoress, who had very kindly invited them
to stay for lunch.
Lunch was served and they were joined by Jude Sutton and
her gorgeous 8 year old twins, Alvin and Emily. They both contracted Type 1
Diabetes (Alvin at the age of 3 years and Emily at 2 1/2 years old), which is
very unusual because there are no other cases of diabetes in their family. Jude
is the co-ordinator for Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and she, the
children and the Mayor and Mayoress were making a video for the charity. JDRF is
one the charities that is being supported in the Mayoral year and it provides
support, information, research and campaigning for children and young people
with Type 1 Diabetes, whilst also working to try to find a cure - 'We will
create a world without Type 1 Diabetes' (www.jdrf.org.uk).
Alvin and Emily use an 'artificial pancreas' which automates basal insulin
delivery using an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an
The pump looks like a pager and delivers insulin to the body
through a catheter under the skin, but it has to be manually adjusted.
The CGM checks glucose levels on a minute to minute basis. This information can
then be used to adjust the pump.
These don't yet 'talk' to each other and
that is where the algorithm comes in. It is a sophisticated computer programme
that takes the live CGM data, works out whether your insulin levels are too high
or too low and tells your pump just how much insulin too give. A wonderful piece
of kit, which helps people enormously.
JDRF is doing incredible work and
would like to make it possible for everyone suffering from Type 1 diabetes to
have one of these.
Alvin and Emily's Dad is a retired Lancashire
cricketer, who is obviously still very fit and has just taken part in an Iron
Man Competition (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 27 mile run) to raise
funds for JDRF.
Gerry offered the family a dinner at Yang Sing Cathay, especially to keep
Dad's energy levels up! He also asked whether they needed any auction or raffle
prizes to help with their fundraising.
30th July 2017
Service to Mark the 200th Anniversary of the rebuilding of the Tower and the
Nave of Stockport Parish Church, St Mary's in the Marketplace
St Mary's in the Marketplace is the oldest parish church in the town of
Stockport and it is recorded in the National Heritage List as a Grade 1 listed
As Gerry and Joanne arrived they were warmly greeted by the
Church Wardens, Sue Heap and Adam Pinder.
Can I also say my own huge thank
you to Sue, who kindly arranged parking and was very kind, patient and helpful
when I called and interrupted her as she was making an on line order to ASDA for
the food which was served as the delicious buffet after the service!
the church there was also a 200th Anniversary Exhibition illustrating the
history, story and architectural development of St Mary's. Whilst browsing
through the exhibition, Gerry and Joanne met a fellow DL, Phil Horton, and one
of the Church Wardens pointed out to them all that part of the church is much
older than 200 years. A church was already on the site in 1190, but now only the
original oratory (now an annexe to the vestry) remains. Around 1310 a new church
was built and only its chancel remains. The rest of the present church was built
between 1813 and 1817 to the design of Lewis Wyatt.
As they were admiring
the artefacts of the chancel, they were invited by the Rev Mike Newman (
Minister of St Cuthbert's, who is also seconded to St Mary's ) to look at the
original oratory. He told them that the church is one of the oldest in
Manchester. The only two older are a church which stood on the site of the
Cathedral and St James' in Didsbury.
As well as Rev Mike Newman, the service was offered by the Bishop of
Stockport, the Rt Rev Libby Lane.
The congregation celebrated with beautiful
hymns, prayers and readings.
was also a presentation made by Gill from the Stockport Heritage Trust
(www.stockportheritagetrust.co.uk - which has a heritage centre in the church
and is open 10:30 am - 3:30 pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 10:30 am -
2:00 pm on Thursdays) She talked very knowledgeably on the history of the church
over the last 200 years, from the renewal of the stained glass window in
Victorian times to the recent vestry repairs funded by the Heritage and Lottery
The Rt Rev Libby Lane gave a moving and encouraging sermon, telling us that
the church brings together the new and the old, history and modern worship. She
commented that work that has been carried out over the last 200 years is the
continuation of all the work that had gone on before, built on the foundations
of past generations. Continuity is the key and work will continue for the next
two centuries and beyond. In the same way, her vestments were also an
illustration of continuity, the design being some 500 years old. The church and
its people are like mustard seeds, a tiny seed which has continued to grow over
the years and is now firmly rooted. The nutrients of the past are still feeding
the growth and development of today. Growth requires change and we can be
anxious about change or excited by it. It we embrace change which has its roots
firmly embedded and fed by the nutrients of the past then the growth will be
positive and will provide resources for the future.
For all that has
been, we give thanks.
For all that will be - Amen
not a Christian, neither has he been drawn or enlightened to become a believer
of any other religious doctrine. However, whenever he is in a place of worship,
a spiritual home, he is always aware of a feeling of respect and thus he
contemplates religious teaching: morally and philosophically, as well as its
cultural and social sway, its history and its heritage and the physical beauty
of its buildings.
The Parish Church of St Mary's in the Marketplace
indeed gave rise to all of these thoughts and wonders.
Court Award at Courts of Justice, Crown Square, Manchester
Under Section 28 of the Criminal Law Act 1826, Courts may order High Sheriff's
to pay a financial reward to those who, in the opinion of the Judge at a
Criminal Trial, have been active in the apprehension of offenders.
well as a monetary reward, the recipient is also presented with a Certificate
signed by the High Sheriff as a further token of appreciation of their bravery
and willingness to uphold the laws of the country.
Gerry was proud to be
approached by His Honour Judge Cross QC to be present at an Award's Ceremony in
honour of Mr Ismail Lasania.
In June 2015, he was driving into the car park of Aldi in Bolton when he saw
a group of very frightened looking women running towards him. He stopped the car
and discovered that a robbery was taking place. He and the women saw a man, part
of a gang, running away from Aldi carrying a large machete.
jumped back into his car and followed the man. He could see a get-away car
waiting for him ahead. He stopped his car close to the get-away car. There was a
garage there and he grabbed a heavy item from the garage and threw it at the
car. In the mean time, the man with the machete was getting into it. Mr Lasania
threw another item and managed to smash one of the car's windows, but the car
still sped away.
The robbers got away with almost £80,000 and another
gentleman who had tried to stop the robbers as they left the store suffered a
deep machete wound to his leg, which needed seven stitches. He was also given a
reward but chose not to attend the ceremony and received it privately.
The culprits, who also carried out other similar robberies, have since been
apprehended and jailed.
Mr Lasania and his wife attended Court and he was
presented with a cheque and his Certificate. His Honour Judge Cross QC expressed
his personal gratitude, as well as that of the Justice system and the
appreciation of the public. He formally acknowledged his public spirit and
Gerry was proud to assist in the presentation and to add his own thanks and
admiration. He also invited Mr Lasania and his wife to bring their family to
visit his restaurant, Yang Sing Cathay, for a complimentary meal to celebrate
the event and as a further token of his appreciation.
Court Award at Courts of Justice, Crown Square, Manchester
Under Section 28 of the Criminal Law Act 1826, Courts may order High
Sheriff's to pay a financial reward to those who, in the opinion of the
Judge at a Criminal Trial, have been active in the apprehension of
As well as a monetary reward, the recipient is also
presented with a Certificate signed by the High Sheriff as a further token
of appreciation of their bravery and willingness to uphold the laws of the
Gerry was proud to be approached by His Honour Judge Cross QC
to be present at an Award's Ceremony in honour of Mr Ismail Lasania.
In June 2015, he was driving into the
car park of Aldi in Bolton when he saw a group of very frightened looking
women running towards him. He stopped the car and discovered that a
robbery was taking place. He and the women saw a man, part of a gang,
running away from Aldi carrying a large machete.
Mr Lasania jumped
back into his car and followed the man. He could see a get-away car
waiting for him ahead. He stopped his car close to the get-away car. There
was a garage there and he grabbed a heavy item from the garage and threw
it at the car. In the mean time, the man with the machete was getting into
it. Mr Lasania threw another item and managed to smash one of the car's
windows, but the car still sped away.
The robbers got away with
almost £80,000 and another gentleman who had tried to stop the robbers as
they left the store suffered a deep machete wound to his leg, which needed
seven stitches. He was also given a reward but chose not to attend the
ceremony and received it privately.
The culprits, who also carried
out other similar robberies, have since been apprehended and jailed.
Mr Lasania and his wife attended Court and he was presented with a
cheque and his Certificate. His Honour Judge Cross QC expressed his
personal gratitude, as well as that of the Justice system and the
appreciation of the public. He formally acknowledged his public spirit and
Gerry was proud to assist
in the presentation and to add his own thanks and admiration. He also
invited Mr Lasania and his wife to bring their family to visit his
restaurant, Yang Sing Cathay, for a complimentary meal to celebrate the
event and as a further token of his appreciation.
1st June 2017
The Duchy of Lancaster - Royal Garden Party Luncheon -
The Bentley Room, Mosimann's
Today Gerry and Joanne visited London to attend the Royal Garden Party.
Before travelling to Buckingham Palace, they were delighted to be invited to
lunch at Mosimann's by the Duchy of Lancaster along with the High Sheriffs of
Lancashire and Merseyside and their spouses - Robert & Carole Webb and Stephen &
It was a wonderful lunch, expertly organised and it was a
real treat to dine at one of London's most famous eateries.
In addition, they learned such a lot about the Duchy of Lancaster and its
On one of the tables was displayed replicas of some of
the royal seals of various Kings and Queens. On the death of the monarch, the
seal is smashed with a hammer, which was also on view.
and Joanne also saw the actual bodkin which is used by the Queen at the Pricking
of the Lites ceremony, when the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester is chosen.
Tim Crow, the Solicitor for the Affairs of the Duchy of Lancaster told them that
on 8th March 2017 when he presented the lites (a list of nominees on a piece of
parchment) to the Queen for pricking it was mid to late morning and the Queen
had already carried out three hours of royal duties!
We take our hat off
to Her Majesty!
then walked everyone through the classic streets of Belgravia and across to
The Royal Garden Party - Lord Lieutenant's Day.
Before entering the grounds of Buckingham Palace, a thorough ID check was
carried out by a Police Constable and the High Sheriff of Merseyside discovered
that he and the PC had attended the same school in Glasgow - although it was
many years apart!
The Duchy of Lancaster's party were allowed to enter
and walked through to a beautiful extensive lawn at the rear of Buckingham
Palace, along one side of which was a long white marquee where beverages, cakes,
scones and all kinds of goodies could be enjoyed. On such a warm and sunny
afternoon there was a long queue of ice cream!
On the left hand side and
backing on to the lake, was the Royal Tea Tent, reserved for members of the
The warm air was filled with the glorious sound of a band playing.
4pm the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, looking elegant and happy, appeared on
the rear terrace. A clear way had been designated for them, with people lining
the route 10-20 deep watching them coming down the steps. They walked to the
Royal Tea Tent, shaking hands and talking to everyone that they passed.
of the Yeomen of the Guard took place whilst they were in the Royal Tea Tent and
they then escorted the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh back to Buckingham
There were thousands of people at the Garden Party. During the
afternoon Gerry and Joanne met many friends: amongst whom were other High
Sheriffs, the Dean of Manchester who was there with his wife and daughter,
Gerry's Chaplain the Reverend Angie Stanton and Sian Yowell, the Bishop of
Gloucester, Rachel Treweek and Timothy Duke, the Norroy & Ulster King of Arms.
They also saw politicians, including Philip Hammond and Graham Brady, MP for
Altrincham and Sale West and Chair of the 1922 Committee.
It was a
wonderfully colourful, glamorous and very British afternoon - with morning
suits, beautiful dresses, hats, fascinators and lots of robes. There were many
clergy in red robes who Gerry and Joanne discovered were the clergy of the Royal
Family. The atmosphere was relaxed with a definite touch of class!
Joanne had a wonderful day.
4th June 2017
Citizens in Policing Awards 2017
The Citizens in Policing Awards is an annual event which celebrates the huge
contribution made by Special Constables (SC), Police Support Volunteers (PSV),
Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) & Leaders and Citizens in Policing (CIP) to
Greater Manchester Communities.
Gerry and Joanne arrived at the Hilton
Hotel, Manchester Airport where they were met by a very smart young lady cadet
and escorted to the JFK Suite where the GMP Quartet were playing and
refreshments were available.
They spoke to a variety of interesting people, including Tina Shelton, the
organiser of the event, who is herself a CIP Coordinator and won a CIP Support
Award on the day and Tracey Snelling, who is a PSV and won the PSV Individual
They were also delighted to catch up with Mike Walmsley, the Chief
Officer of the Greater Manchester Police Special constabulary.
Gerry spotted a group of people in red coats and discovered that they were
The Glossop Mountain Rescue Team. One of their members, Ian Bennett promised to
take Gerry out with them for a day, although he joked that he would have to
stick to the left hand side of any paths so as not to encroach into the
bailiwick of the High Sheriff of Derbyshire!
The guests were then seated in the Schiphol Suite ready for the Awards
There were 11 awards in total and Gerry presented certificates and
had photographs taken with the winners and runners up of the VPC Individual
Award and the SC Individual Award.
The winner of the VPC Individual Award
was Hassan Khan, Head Cadet at Blackley VPC. He has played a key role in
tackling hate crime, cyber bullying and antisocial behaviour in the community.
He has also worked to break down barriers between the inner city community where
he lives and the Police. He has also worked hard to complete his Bronze and
Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards and is close to achieving his Gold.
Runner Up was Hannah Young, who was sword bearer to Gerry's predecessor as High
Sheriff, Lady Smith of Leigh. In that role she also took part in Gerry's
Installation Ceremony in April. She was key to designing the new VPC and Sword
Bearer Cadet Ceremonial uniform. As Senior VPC she has taken the lead at Cadet
Meetings, been instrumental at fundraising for local charities and encourages
other young people to join the cadets.
The winner of the SC Individual
Award was Jared Simpson, who has been instrumental in two key areas of Policing
in Oldham. After being made aware of antisocial behaviour and underage drinking
in Royton precinct he visited all licensed premises in the vicinity and
encouraged them to join Pub Watch. He attended the meetings and continues to
patrol the area. In 2016 he was first on the scene when a child was hit by a
motor vehicle and showed leadership and integrity in the critical incident which
The Runner Up was Vikki Barnes, who has worked tirelessly to
improve the overall standard and professionalism of the Special Constabulary at
Wigan Division. She has also forged excellent links with the regular supervisors
and officers on the Division too. In 12 months she has volunteered more than
1600 hours to policing.
The Awards were followed by a delicious lunch.
Gerry and Joanne were sat at a table with volunteers, Gemma Vaughan, who has
just started as a regular Policewoman, James Briggs, who is due to start soon
and Vikki Barnes who has wanted to join the Police all her life, became an SC
and decided that becoming a regular Policewoman was not for her. Her day job is
now an Air Hostess, though she remains as an SC.
It was a heart-warming
and uplifting event and the atmosphere of the day was summed up by a quotation
from Special Sergeant, Tracy Higginson:
"I am a great believer in 'you
get out of it what you put in' - I enjoy getting involved in the many aspects of
Greater Manchester is blessed by dedicated and incredible
Citizens in Policing.
One Love Manchester Concert
During the Citizens in Policing Awards, Gerry and Joanne were honoured to be
asked to join dignitaries of Greater Manchester for a One Minute's Silence at
6:45pm before the start of the One Love Manchester Concert.
dignitaries gathered at the Bishop of Manchester's residence and were taken by
Police escort to Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Many roads around the
Ground were closed in order to heighten security.
The Police moved
barriers to allow the cars to pass through. Talbot Road was full of people
walking to the concert.
The dignitaries were taken back stage. The
stadium was 70% full and people were still streaming in.
was full of anticipation and emotion.
The crowd responded positively and
enthusiastically to speeches made by Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater
Manchester and David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester.
moving words summed up the feelings of many people: 'I don't know what to
say under the circumstances, but the fact that you are all here today speaks
more than a thousand words.'
Ariana Grande brought together an
incredible array of talent, including Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas,
Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Take That, Miley Cyrus, Marcus Mumford, Niall Horan,
Little Mix, Katy Perry, Imogen Heap, Pharrel Williams and Liam Gallagher.
music spoke loudly and passionately -and performers and a crowd of some 50,000
people came together as one to share a very emotional evening.
joined by 11.63 million people who watched on TV and over £2M was raised for the
families of the victims of the Manchester attacks.
The British Red Cross
reported it received more than £10 million in donations in the 12 hours
following the concert.
Again the emergency services rose to the occasion and
kept everyone safe. Police and people celebrated Manchester .....in fact, Mike
Walmsley, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Police Special Constabulary
was seen enthusiastically joining in a conga with concert goers!
6th June 2017
Visit to Withington Girls' School
Joanne spent a very enjoyable afternoon, meeting 10-11 year old girls from
Withington Girls' School, who enthusiastically asked him about his role as High
Sheriff so far.
They arrived at school to be welcomed by Headmistress,
Sarah Haslam and were taken for a tour of the new Junior building and then to
the Junior Hall to meet the girls.
Gerry explained that their daughter,
So Yi , was an Old Girl of the school and had been in Upper 2 in 1998. He showed
them a picture of her in uniform (which has not changed since then) at the same
age and also a photo of her as she looks now.
He also explained that he
was a past Governor of the school and worked hard to raise £2M for the Bursary
Fund. In fact his name can still be found on one of the bricks making up the
'bursary wall' of donations.
They were fascinated by the history of the
role of High Sheriff and its origins in Anglo Saxon times, as well as by the
fact that the High Sheriff is mentioned in no less that 27 of the 63 clauses in
the Magna Carta. They were also impressed when Gerry proved that he had done his
homework and found out more about the history of those periods!
also told them about the High Sheriff's uniform and how he travelled to London
to be measured up and to have it made. They enjoyed looking at the uniform,
wearing his hat and examining his sword.
A highlight of the afternoon was
the saga of the lost sword on his recent trip back to London!
explained how his family crest was created and was told that the girls were
going to do a project in school to create their own family crests. Gerry and
Joanne promised to return to see the finished articles.
The girls were
bright and enthusiastic, asking pertinent questions and whole heartedly joining
in the session.
The afternoon ended with afternoon tea in the
A great time was had by all!
High Sheriff's Dinner at the Inner Temple, London
and Joanne were invited by Mr David Pittaway, the Treasurer of the Honourable
Society of the Inner Temple to a High Sheriff's Dinner.
The evening began
with an enchanting Choral Evensong service in the beautiful Temple Church.
The Temple Church was built in the late 12th Century by the Knights Templar
as their English headquarters. It is the church of Inner and Middle Temple, two
of England’s four ancient societies of lawyers, the Inns of Court; we are here
to serve the two Inns’ members and staff'
the service, they learned that the Magna Carta was actually drafter at the
Temple. It was King John’s London headquarters (1214-5) and from there he issued
two vital preliminary charters. In January 1215 the barons confronted him for
the first time at the Temple with the demand that he subject himself to the rule
of a charter.
The hero of Magna Carta was William Marshal, Earl of
Pembroke. He mediated between John and the barons, secured the agreement
embodied in Magna Carta and was one of the King’s advisors at Runnymede. When
John died the Marshal became guardian of the boy-king Henry III and of the
kingdom. He re-issued Magna Carta under his own seal in 1216 and 1217, and so
ensured its survival. He was buried in the Temple’s Round Church, where his
effigy still lies.
The role of High Sheriff' is the only other office
that is older than the Temple itself and is mentioned in 27 of the 63 clauses in
the Magna Carta.
The High Sheriff's then moved into the beautiful Inner
Temple Hall, where they enjoyed interesting and informative speeches, gourmet
food, deliciously matched wines and delightful company.
and Joanne were seated next to and opposite two of the Masters of the Temple;
teachers who guide the young pupils in law. They also enjoyed conversation with
many other High Sheriffs and exchanged ideas and information.
the experience very much.
8th June 2017
The Signing of the
Roll & The Portrait Hanging of the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester
Gerry & Joanne began the day at the Judges' Lodgings in Manchester where
they were kindly invited to morning tea/coffee by the resident Judges and were
joined by the Under Sheriff, Mr David Cam Dl and his wife, Jin Ee.
discussed, amongst many other things, the possibility of a campaign to recruit
more Chinese JPs.
The formal ceremony took place in the Assize Hall at Crown Square, to which
Gerry & Joanne travelled in convoy with the Judges.
Previous to their
arrival was that of the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Edith Conn and the Lord Mayor
of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman.
As the dignitaries arrived they
were accompanied by mounted Police and announced by fanfares from the Police
Trumpeters. It was a formal and inspiring occasion. As they entered the Assize
Hall they were received by the Hon Recorder of Manchester, His Honour Judge
David Stockdale QC.
The short but moving and traditional ceremony was
attended by many of the Mayors of Greater Manchester, the Judiciary, past High
Sheriff's and friends and family of the present High Sheriff.
As the High
Sheriff and Mrs Yeung arrived, they were met by the High Sheriff's Chaplain, Rev
Angie Stanton and his Police Cadets, Shannon Donnelly and Natasha Watkins and
escorted into the Assize Hall.
The Police Cadets guarded the High
Sheriff's Portrait throughout the ceremony, whilst he signed the beautifully
calligraphed Roll. The portrait will eventually join those of all the previous
High Sheriffs along one of the corridors in Crown Square.
Towards the end
of the ceremony, the High Sheriff was blessed in his role by his Chaplain, who
amongst her beautiful words prayed that God would:
Bless Gerry as he
supports our civic life that he might be a power for good in our city
symbol of its inclusivity and welcome, an advocate for those who stand with the
marginalised and a support for those who uphold the rule of Law and serve the
common good with their lives.
Fill him with Your Joy, Confidence and Wisdom,
bless him at home and at work, awake and asleep, be on his right hand and on his
left hand, a constant source of encouragement and peace.
and uplifted, the guests retired to the Judges' Dining Room for tea and coffee.
The High Sheriff and Joanne then kindly hosted early lunch for their friends
and family at San Carlo. Unfortunately they could not be joined by the Judges as
they were called back to Court.
9th June 2017
Visit to Bolton
Lads & Girls' Club to meet Staff & Pupils of Rumworth School, Bolton
Gerry & Joanne visited Bolton Lads & Girls' Club where Rumworth School hold
their PE lessons.
They were met by Alison Moreton and two Rumworth
pupils, who showed them around the club.
They then went outside to watch Louis Critchlow from Bolton RUFC and Kadoo
who was coaching Rugby skills . He has been working with Rumworth all year and
they are thoroughly enjoying learning new skills
Gerry talked to the
girls and boys and watched Louis take them through a Gladiator Drill where they
needed to beat two defenders without losing both tags to score a try.
After going back indoors, they watched the cricket practice and were then
treated to a great cup of tea and some lovely cakes!
They were joined by
the Deputy Headmistress who told Gerry that She remembered him from visiting his
restaurant, Yang Sing, when she was younger and that she shared many a delicious
lunch with her Dad when she was doing Teacher Training!
Gerry's hat was
passed among the children and tried on many times!
The sword was also
very popular and one of the boys asked whether Gerry used it to defend the
Queen! Lots of questions were asked about the uniform and the sort of things
that High Sheriff's are expected to do. Gerry and Joanne also enjoyed asking
questions about the school, sport and BRUFC's involvement with the school.
Rumworth is a school for 11-19 year old pupils who have a range of learning
difficulties and additional needs. It is rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted They
cater for up to 240 students and support them to be more confident, resilient
and independent. Their aim is to teach life skills so that the students can gain
employment. One of their mottos is: You can do it. We can help.
The school is doing a fantastic job. and sport is almost a therapy. The students
were relaxed and happy and many of them excel at sport and were in their
Bolton RUFC do incredible work with schools , using rugby as a means to
connect with youngsters and teach valuable life skills and lessons. They work
hard to help young people in their community to develop and grow as individuals
whilst connecting with and enjoying sport. In 2015 they won the SRA School Links
Award which was presented by HRH Earl of Wessex.
Fantastic community work
Meanwhile, the cricket and rounders continued inside and Gerry
had a go at batting. He is proud to say that he remains 'not out'!
Some final group photos were taken and there were lots of goodbyes
Gerry and Joanne were invited to lunch at Rumworth, as they have a bistro
standard kitchen. In return Gerry and Joanne
invited some of the pupils to
come over to Yang Sing Cathay and Wokooshii to learn how to make some dim sum
and enjoy some Chinese food.
Watch this space!
The Opening of the Sale Festival Photographic Exhibition & Prize Giving
Gerry and Joanne arrived at the Waterside Arts Centre to take part in the
opening of the Sale Festival Photographic Exhibition.
A few days earlier,
Gerry had been over to meet John Earnshaw and his colleagues to see, study and
judge the prints and decide on the top three prize winners in the Senior Section
(as well as another three who would receive Commended Certificates) and the 16
prints he judged to be the 'best of the rest'. All of these prints had then been
framed for the exhibition.
He then chose the First and Second Prize
Winners in the Junior Section.
He had a great time studying all the
prints and as overwhelmed by the quality of the entrants.
On the night it
was his job to try to explain why he made his choices and support the Mayor of
Trafford who presented the prizes.
Whilst he is not a photographer, he
explained that he felt a good photo should tell a story and give rise to an
emotional response - happiness, sadness, laughter, horror. It could depict a
sense of grandeur or tranquillity in nature etc There are also the technical
skills of composition, colour, exposure etc.
The winners were:-
Junior Section - Runner Up
Another Rainy Day in
Ireland by Rosie Sharkey
Gerry loved its bold composition with a sense
of desolation and melancholy of a wet sodden day when the rain seems as though
it will never stop. You can almost sense that this is the view of a child who is
bored and frustrated
Junior Section Winner
Shoestring by Georgia Scheerhout
The photo has a Mediterranean feel and
the observation of the photographer has captured everyday ordinary objects in a
way that is fun and mischievous. The angle from which the photo is taken invites
you to look up and explore a shabby alley and discover colour.
Commended in the Senior Section were:
Paddle Board Sunset by Jane Hawnaur, Lull at Lakeside by John Nugent and
Flower Girl by Chrissie Hayward
The Third Prize
Winner in the Senior Section was
Egyptian Excursion by John Nugent
Gerry loved the simplicity,
the mathematical geometrical composition and the interesting perspective of a
pyramid that is in the distance and one that is 'in your face'. The heat of the
desert is also captured in the glow of light on the rocks.
Second Prize Winner in the Senior Section was
As soon as Gerry saw this photo he smiled! Then a word popped
into his head - cantankerous....followed by bad tempered, irascible, irritable
and grumpy! The photo completely captured the spirit of a grumpy old man and
expressed the feeling - 'Don't come near me! Don't mither me! Leave me alone! Go
The First Prize Winner of the Senior Section was:
Clara in the Corn by Chrissie Hayward
This is a beautiful and
subtle photograph of a young girl half-hidden in a cornfield, her blonde hair
and the ripening corn being a perfect blend of colour. The young girl is very
thoughtful, absorbed by something which we cannot see. Only half of her face can
be seen and her eyes are half closed. You wonder what she is thinking. There is
an element of mystery involved. It is compelling, intense, has depth and leaves
you wanting more....
Gerry and Joanne had a lovely evening, speaking to
the photographers and learning more about their very impressive skills. They
also met the two beautiful daughters of Chrissie Hayward who were the subjects
of Clara in the Corn and Flower Girl.
12th June 2017
Meeting Young Chinese Lawyers at Dean's Court
Every year a group of young Chinese lawyers visit UK, spending six weeks in
London and one day in Manchester!
Gerry, as High Sheriff of Greater
Manchester, was asked by the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, HH Judge David
Stockdale QC, to meet with them during their visit and talk to them about life
They were bright young lawyers from a variety of cities
in China and specialised in many different areas of law.
enlisted the help of Rhys Whalley, the CEO of Manchester China Forum to
accompany him and was also grateful to Tim Newns of MIDAS who provided useful
data and information to add to the presentation. They had a very brief window of
opportunity to extol the virtues of Manchester.
He also decided to wear
his full uniform (complete with sword!) so that the lawyers could also enjoy the
tradition of his role.
Gerry and Rhys were welcomed most warmly to Dean's
Court Chambers by David Stockdale and Joe Hart and were introduced to the
group., who had, earlier that day, enjoyed visits to Old Trafford, Manchester
Crown Court, had a pub lunch and been to the People's Museum.
them a bit about himself, his role and the history of the High Sheriff.
The lawyers were delighted when Rhys introduced himself in Mandarin and then
explained in English the work of Manchester China Forum with China, relating to
connectivity, investment etc.
had the last word when he explained that Manchester is big enough to be
commercially and culturally exciting, but small enough for everyone to work
together.......and that as long as they got to know a few of the people
currently in the room, through them they would soon get to know everyone in
Everyone then got to know each other much better over tea and
a selection of very delicious cakes!
15th June 2017
180th Anniversary Awards
Henshaws is a charity supporting people
living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities. The charity provides
specialist college facilities, arts and crafts, community services, housing,
training and services for businesses and disability support services.
Awards Ceremony took place at the Midland Hotel in Manchester to recognise those
with visual impairments who have gone far beyond expectations this year, as well
as marking Henshaw's 180th anniversary.
The ceremony was attended by,
amongst many others, the Lord Lieutenant (who is also the President of
Henshaws), the Vice Lord Lieutenant and the Mayor's of the boroughs of Greater
Gerry and Joanne were chatting with Andrew Rose, one of
Henshaw's Board Members. He became visually impaired about seven years ago, due
to a hereditary condition. Prior to that he was an accountant, but since then he
has become very involved with Henshaw's, particularly on the technology front.
The incredible development of technology has opened up so many more
possibilities for visually impaired people and he wants to share that
development and information far and wide.
is the oldest charity in Manchester and, in the past, it has been one of Yang
Sing's chosen annual charities, along with Guide Dogs for the Blind. In fact,
some years ago, Gerry went on a blindfolded walk around Manchester with the help
of a Guide Dog. It really helped him to empathise with some of the difficulties
that visually impaired people need to deal with.
The guests were seated
in the Trafford Room and entertained by virtuoso pianist, Stefan Andrusychyn and
award winning opera singer, Denise Leigh, both of whom are visually impaired and
also happen to be husband and wife and romantically met through music!
Gerry & Joanne were seated on a table with the Lord Lieutenant, the Vice
Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the Mayor of Oldham, Nick Marr
(the CEO of Henshaws) and two trustees from the Zochonis Trust.
discovered that Nick Marr has written a book called 'How to Run a Charity'.
Gerry has decided that he will buy a copy to read anf to educate himself better.
The compère for the afternoon was Tom Walker, who was also visually
impaired. He was very lively, with an impish sense of humour.
was also entertained by an excellent guitar group called Biscuit.
were a variety of awards, including the Young Person of the Year (Aged under 12)
which was won by Jackson Edward.
There was also a father and son, who each won an award. Paul Forster winning
a Technology Award and Jamie Forster winning the Young Person of the Year Award
(12-25 years of age). Dad could not be there, so Jamie collected both awards,
telling everyone in his speech that his ambition was to play football for
The Gillian Lawrence Award given to people who have managed to overcome
personal challenges, was won by Bryony Fielding who was very tearful and
emotional in receiving her award. When asked by the compère how she felt, she
quipped that the tears were probably because of the amount of delicious cakes
that she had been tempted to eat during the afternoon, which had ruined her diet
A presentation was given which showed the history of Henshaws and
how, over the years, the charity has learned, innovated and used ever changing
technology to improve the lives of visually impaired people.
inspirational afternoon came to an end, Nick Marr made his closing speech and
stated that Henshaws is an organisation for the visually impaired, but has a
vision to achieve beyond expectations.
16th June 2017
Green Fold Special School in Farnworth, part of the Orchards Federation , on
Save the Children Den Day
Gerry and Joanne visited Green Fold
School to meet the children on National Den Day. They were invited by Rachel
Parker and also by J P Hardman and Peter Gore of Bolton Rugby Union Football
Club, who work with the school to provide rugby sessions for the children every
was slightly sidelined on this day, because the children were building dens on
the field to celebrate Save The Children's Den Day and were learning about the
importance of shelter to children all over the world.
As they arrived at the
school entrance, Gerry and Joanne were met by a group of excited children
accompanied by Rachel and the Head Master, Andrew Feeley.
The immediate star attraction was Gerry's sword!
Gerry and Joanne
were taken to the playing fields where children were building some incredible
dens from cardboard boxes and bed sheets and all sorts of things! In the middle
of the field was the BRUFC den made with rugby post protectors and tackle bags
and filled with numerous rugby balls. Not sure if they were to be used for
training or to repel invaders!
The kids were having a great time and a
mixed ability group were being encouraged to run with and pass the balls.
Green Fold School is a special school which is part of the Orchards Federation.
It caters for children aged 4-11 with a wide variety of complex educational
needs. It is a place where each pupil is allowed to express themselves as
individuals and learn in a style that best meets their needs. Their ethos is
Growing, Sharing, Learning , Laughing and Celebrating Success Together
children came over to ask what Gerry and Joanne were doing there and soon they
were helping to build the den whilst being asked lots of questions. Is it a real
sword? Can I touch it? Soon the children were queuing up to have their
photograph taken wearing Gerry's hat and holding his sword, with Gerry standing
by their side! He commented to one girl that wearing his hat would spoil her
hair and her response was: 'I don't care!'Gerry felt as though he had never been
He was asked whether he had ever met the Queen and answered
that he had and that we should all try to be like her because she works so hard.
One little girl said that she had seen the Queen six times, but she didn't
remember because she was a baby!
some brilliant questions and a long photo session, Gerry and Joanne visited all
the dens which had been built around the field. When they returned to the BRUFC
den they were invited inside and got involved in a large scrum - which became
another photo session!
They then went back into the school and were taken
around the classrooms where children with varying degrees of disabilities and
learning difficulties were having lessons.
Gerry fell in love with a
little girl named Angel, who was bright, feisty and, refusing to be held back by
having no arms had learned to use the mouse and access the computer with her
feet. They had a bit of a chat whilst Gerry admired her skills and he was
delighted when she shouted "Bye! See you!" as he left. He was overwhelmed and
inspired by her spirit and determination to overcome obstacles.
the children were making cakes and enjoying the results.
Gerry and Joanne
were humbled by the love, patience and skills of the teachers and teaching
assistants who were working with the children.
They discovered that Green
Fold also provides hydrotherapy, rebound therapy and many sensory experiences
which help the children to increase contact with the outside world and build
During tea in the Headmaster's Room he explained that
he came from a mainstream school and it has been a steep learning curve for him.
Orchard Federation is made up of The Orchards Nursery, Cherry Tree Primary and
Green Fold Special School - with a total of 600 children. Although the schools
have separate academic/learning programmes, socially there is a huge cross over
They have a scheme where some of the older children from
Cherry Tree were awarded the title of Play Leader with the privilege of coming
to play and spend time with some of the children with physical and learning
difficulties at play time. They take great pride in this privilege. It is an
admirable model and teaches the children empathy and understanding.
commented that the teachers are very special. They need not only love and
patience but also a good understanding of the medical conditions and needs of
the children. Each child is treated as an individual.
and Joanne had a very very special day.
Their experiences at Green Fold and
at the Henshaws Awards really reinforced their belief that we live in a caring
and protective culture and we take care of and learn from vulnerable people.
Such goodwill, generosity of spirit and joy of life is very precious and is to
Gerry & Joanne's second Judges' Dinner was held at their home in Heaton
Gerry created the menu and one of the chefs from Yang Sing Cathay
kindly assisted the success of the evening by moving temporarily from Yang Sing
Cathay to home, leaving Gerry & Joanne to host the dinner and enjoy the results
of his culinary talents as well as the company of their guests.
rounded of the evening by sampling a rather delicious bottle of Hennessy XO
Cognac. XO has to be ten years old to be given the name, but this particular
bottle was given to Gerry as a gift from a friend from Hong Kong, who had bought
it at least 40 years ago, on his Installation Day. It was therefore at least 50
years old and had matured beautifully!
24th June 2017
for the Re-Dedication of The Northenden War Memorial & Armed Forces Day in
Northenden and Wythenshawe
Gerry and Joanne were honoured to be invited by Mr Graham McIsaac, The
President of the Northenden Branch of the Royal British Legion to attend the
re-dedication of the Northenden War Memorial.
The area around the War
Memorial has been refurbished with financial support from the National Lottery
Funded War Memorials Trust, from the Neighbourhood Network of the Wythenshawe
Wards of Manchester City Council and the Manchester Airport Community Fund.
Gerry & Joanne were met as they arrived by Graham McIsaac.
The Guests of Honour were the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and Mrs
Kath Robinson Dl and the service was respectful and inspirational. Every name
inscribed on the War Memorial was read out loud. As Gerry listened and then read
out the names of the 10 people allocated to him, he was moved to realise that
some surnames were repeated, meaning that some families lost more than one
family member - sons, fathers, brothers.
were laid, fervent prayers were said and many people stood in silent unity as
they remembered the courage of the people who gave their lives for us all.
'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not
weary them, nor the years condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the
morning, we will remember them.'
After the service, tea and coffee
was served and the Armed Forces Day then began.
There was a display of
military vehicles, which was very interesting. Gerry and Joanne also watched a
re-enactment carried out by the 1879 Group and talked to some of the members
The 1879 Group was formed at the Museum of South Wales
Borderers in Brecon in 1998 by a dedicated group of people who had a consuming
interest in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1869.
One of their aims is to locate, renovate and re-dedicate the graves of those
who made it back to Britain. Some members carry out research into Anglo-Zulu
history and keep alive the memory of the soldiers on both sides of the
They showed Gerry and Joanne a bell tent that was used to
sleep 12 people, who lay in a star shape, with their heads and the majority if
their body inside the tent and their feet stuck outside!
Gerry & Joanne also spoke with a 95 years old lady who told lots of stories
of her work as a nurse in a burns unit looking after soldiers during WWII. She
is definitely the most sprightly 95 year old that they have ever met. She still
enjoys visiting Northenden Club (which was called the Old comrades Association
when it first opened) and spending time with her friends. Her favourite tipple
is rum, which is probably the secret of both her longevity and her energy!
26th June 2017
The visit of the Duke & Duchess of Cornwall to
The visit was made to express condolences and provide
support after the dreadful Manchester attack.
The Royal Couple first made a
private visit to Manchester Arena and met with some of the staff and emergency
services who were first on the scene of the bombing.
They then travelled to the Town Hall, where crowds of people waited to
welcome them and there were many press representatives.
Gerry and Joanne joined the civic line-up and shook hands with His Royal
Highness and the Duchess, who then split up as the civic line up was completed.
His Royal Highness joined a round table meeting, in which Gerry took part,
during which they discussed the impact of the attack and the positive things
that are being done in Manchester, following the atrocities. It was a very
forward looking discussion, demonstrating Manchester's resilience. The message
that came through loud and clear from representatives from different faith
groups, community groups etc was that they are all proud to be Mancunian and
that the dreadful atrocities have made everyone stand in solidarity together -
that Manchester is responding with pride, belief, determination, togetherness
and efficiency - and that everyone is thankful to have emergency services and a
City Council upon which we can rely. It was also mentioned that a fund was set
up straight away and that within ten days cash was being distributed to the
Whilst the discussion took place, the Duchess of Cornwall met
with some of the victims of the attack. She spoke at length with a young girl,
who was in a wheelchair, and whose friend had been killed in the blast. Her
parents described the horrendous night, the fact that it was the first time that
their daughter had been to a concert without them and how they had cried in fear
as they searched for her.
The Duchess was very sympathetic and caring.
She invited them all to come to London when their daughter was feeling better
for Afternoon Tea. One of her staff gave the parents a business card to allow
them to get in touch
The Royal couple then met up again in the Great Hall as
they spoke with representatives of hospital groups, the Red Cross, faith groups,
the Prince's Trust and Mosaic Group, the British Asian Trust, the Etihad Respite
Centre, Manchester Youth Council Group and Support for Victims and Families and
Royal Highness made a compassionate, encouraging and supportive speech, sharing
this personal experiences in the wake of the London Bridge Terror Attack and the
Terror Van Attack outside a London mosque and offering sincere and heartfelt
27th June 2017
Sixth Form Community Action Celebration Evening at Bolton
Gerry arrived at Bolton School and was immediately helped by a very polite
and helpful young man, who directed him to the Leverhulme Suite of the Riley
Centre. He took great interest in Gerry's uniform, as he is interested in all
things military and his career ambition is to join the Army.
out that he was one of the Sixth Formers to receive an award that evening and
one of eight students who were chosen to made a presentation regarding their
voluntary community work.
Gerry was received by Sophie Entwistle, Head of
Community Action and introduced to Mr P Britton and Mrs S Hincks, the Heads of
Bolton School. He was impressed and inspired to learn that one in five of the
school's pupils have bursary support and that they were working hard to increase
that figure to one in four.
Bolton School has nursery, primary and
secondary facilities and is very enterprising, renting out its space in a
variety of ways - even as a wedding venue - during evenings and holiday periods
to create further funds that can be used to help the pupils. The grounds and
buildings were immaculate.
Gerry also learned that the hall that he was
taken into had started its life as a swimming pool! He was introduced to Sixth
Formers, proud parents, Governors and the Head of the Governing Body.
Sophie opened the evening, telling everyone that Bolton School was proud to be
the first ever school to be presented with the Queen's Voluntary Service Award.
They encourage all their Sixth Formers to get involved in their local community
and this year they were celebrating the momentous achievement of registering
9,243 hours of voluntary work.
The top 80 performing Sixth Form students
attended the presentation evening and picked up Bronze, Silver or Gold awards
depending on whether they had committed over 20 hours, 50 hours of 100 hours in
helping the local community. 143 students had achieved at least a Bronze status,
with as many as 25 attaining the Gold award, helping out in a wide range of
institutions including Brownies, Beavers and Scouts, at Bolton School's SHINE
Saturday morning programme, as classroom assistants or mentors at local schools,
working with the homeless in Greater Manchester, offering translation services,
working in hospices and care homes, assisting with local charities such as Urban
Outreach and Bolton Lads and Girls Club - and in many other ways.
the students then shared presentations about the work that they had done.
Ali, who volunteered at Bolton Hospice, advised the audience: "If an
opportunity comes your way in the future, take it:. Anika, who worked as a
Student Leader at Gordonstoun's Summer School for four weeks, said that it was
one of the greatest experiences of her life and that it was something that she
would never forget. Maryam recalled how her time at Urban Outreach had been
"something I looked forward to" and that volunteering was something that she
will continue with throughout her life
Gerry was delighted to hand out
He congratulated the students and the school on their inspirational success.
He told them about the history of the role of High Sheriff and that his main job
now is the privilege of connecting and engaging with the charitable, voluntary,
faith, ethnic, cultural and business communities in the county.
He encouraged the students to continue with their good work, allow their
civic pride and community spirit to grow and to engage more and more with their
community. This would enrich the lives of the people that they helped and in
turn enrich their own lives.
He was sure that there would be future High
Sheriffs amongst them!
He then used his sword to 'cut' a beautiful and
delicious celebratory cake, which was shared by all.
28th June 2017
Visit to Smart Works, Greater Manchester in Stockport
Smart Works (www.smartworks.org.uk) is a lottery funded charity
which helps women get back into work.
If you are a woman with a confirmed
job interview, Smart works Greater Manchester will give you a complete outfit
(yours to keep) and advice on how to get the job. They provide interview advice,
a complete quality outfit and accessories and even a voucher for a second
Each appointment lasts about two hours and includes one to one
advice and training. The clothes are donated by other working women or come from
their retail partners and they work closely with Job Centre Plus, housing
It was set up in London four years ago, with a branch in
Manchester following two years later.
When Gerry and Joanne were welcomed
by Fiona Gunnion, Janet Pickering and the team they learned that there is only
one salaried member of staff, the CEO, and the rest of the team are very hard
working and experienced volunteers.
Gerry and Joanne had a conducted tour and were amazed by the racks of
clothes from which the ladies can choose.
Lots of the ladies come from under-privileged backgrounds, abusive
relationships or have had limited education. Smart Works work hard to help them
to build up their self esteem and rebuild their confidence.
The success rate
of their ladies in securing jobs is an incredible 70%.
Gerry and Joanne
were impressed and inspired by the charity's excellent work and promised to
spread the word far and wide!
28th June 2017
Making Ceremony - Oldham
The Mayor Making Ceremony for the new Youth Mayor of Oldham, Mohammed Marouf
Ahmed, was held in the Mayor's Parlour and Council Chamber at Oldham Civic
Marouf lives with his parents and siblings in Coppice and is
currently studying Mechanical engineering at the University of Liverpool. He
joined the Oldham Youth Council four years ago and has also served as the Member
of Youth Parliament for Oldham within the UK Youth Parliament. He has
represented Oldham's young people, locally, regionally and even internationally!
Maybe we have a future PM on our hands.
Marouf is also into football and
shares his skills as a coach for Coppice Rangers.
Gerry & Joanne enjoyed
getting to know the Youth Mayor a little better during refreshments in the
Mayor's Parlour. They also met the retiring Youth Mayor, Mr T Jay Turner, who is
off to Edinburgh University in September to study English.
delighted to catch up with the Mayor & Mayoress of Oldham too, whose Mayor
Making Ceremony they were honoured to attend in May.
At 6:00pm everyone
moved into the Council Chambers for the formal ceremony and the guests were
formally welcomed by the Mayor of Oldham.
This was the first time that Gerry & Joanne had ever attended a Youth Mayor
The retiring Youth Mayor asked for nominations for
2017-18 and there was a show of hands from those in favour. He then stated:
Youth Councillor Marouf Ahme, I am delighted to inform you that by the
unanimous consent of Oldham Youth Council you have been duly elected as Youth
Mayor of the Oldham Metropolitan Borough for the forthcoming municipal year'
Youth Mayor then made and signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office with
the CEO, Dr C Wilkins OBE.
The new Youth Mayor is blessed with a rather
splendid beard, in fact the retiring Mayor went on to make reference to it in
his speech! However, at this stage, when the retiring Youth Mayor passed over
his chain, the beard was the cause of a slight delay and a few smiles and jokes
as the chain became stuck and had to be untangled!!
retiring Youth Mayor and the new Youth Mayor then changed seats.
inspiring speeches followed and the new Youth Mayor stated that he wanted to be
a beacon of unity and was looking forward to exploring the wider areas of Oldham
and spreading and adding to the love that he already had for his borough.
Refreshments were enjoyed by everyone in the Lees Suite.
Opening of Nicky Alliance Centre Art Exhibition
Gerry was delighted to be invited to open the Nicky Alliance Centre's Art
Exhibition at the Maccabi Sports & Community Centre in Prestwich.
Manchester Jewish Community Care does wonderful work in serving older, disabled
and vulnerable members of the community by providing services which promote
active, independent living.
Over 200 people attend the Nicky Alliance
Centre, some coming several times a week. The Centre offers breakfasts and
lunches, as well as a variety of activities: Basic Computing, Keep Fit,
Discussion, Talks, Quizzes, Yoga, Reminiscence and Singing - as well as, of
course, Art (painting, drawing, tapestry and knitting).
started in 1950's as the Jewish Blind Society and MJCC still produce the
Northern Jewish Talking Newspaper.
They also provide a local Meals on
Gerry and Joanne were met by the Chief Executive,
Michelle Wiseman, and were very impressed with the standard of the art work
which was displayed, especially as some of the ladies and gentlemen had never
done this sort of thing before.
The Centre has a very talented Art Teacher, Tracy Frasz, who comes in to
teach painting and drawing to the visitors regularly.
Gerry was presented with a lovely gift.
He thanked the volunteers and the members of the Centre enthusiastically,
telling them how pleased he was to be there and to meet everyone. He explained
his admiration for and his closeness to the Jewish Community in Manchester, not
only because many members were customers at Yang Sing, but due to a colleague
who he worked with for over twenty years. His long standing solicitor and
dentist are also Jewish!
He much admires the fact that the Jewish
Community in Manchester is successful and caring. The Nicky Alliance Centre and
Heathlands being excellent examples.
He then declared the Art Exhibition
After the formalities, Gerry was honoured and inspired to meet
Isaac who looks about 70, but who is actually 101 years old, being born on 25th
January 1916. He was physically mobile and mentally alert. When Gerry asked
Isaac for the secret of his longevity, he was told that it was plenty of fresh
also contributed to the Art Exhibition by producing a 'collage' of 13 pencil
sketches; one of each of the staff at the Centre. When a newspaper reporter
asked for a photo of Isaac and Gerry together, he immediately grabbed hold of
his zimmer frame to assist him in standing, left it behind, walked unaided over
to Gerry, lifted up his art work and happily posed for the camera!
felt blessed to have met such a wonderful gentleman with a zest for life.
also had another very pleasant surprise, when he discovered that Lady Smith (his
predecessor as High Sheriff) was there. She had visited the Centre at the
beginning of the art project and came to the exhibition to enjoy the results. He
was delighted to see her and will definitely learn from her example to keep in
touch with as many of the people that he meets during his Shrieval Year.
29th June 2017
The Combined High Court Judges' & Circuit Judges Mess'
Gerry was pleased to receive a kind invitation to the traditional Combined
High Court Judges' & Circuit Judges' Mess at the Midland Hotel, by Harriet
Tighe, Junior of the Northern Circuit.
The meal was held in the Trafford
Room and was absolutely delicious.
Michael Hayton QC, the Leader of the
Northern Circuit an based in Dean's Court Chambers, spoke most eloquently and
with intelligent humour as he introduced the guests. Gerry sincerely admired his
talent and complimented him later in the evening. He was amused by his response:
'You do your job well. I do mine!'
Having also seen him in action at
Dean's Court on 12th June, Gerry is still convinced that he does his job better!
Gerry was sat next to the Honorary Recorder from Minshull Street, HHJ John
Potter, who kindly invited him to sit at court with him in Minshull Street.
During the evening, Gerry was intrigued to witness some traditions which
seemed rather 'strange' to him as a non-legal person. He decided that he must do
some research and discover their meanings and historical significance!
talked with many friends that he had already made during his time as High
Sheriff, including the Hon Recorder of Manchester HHJ David Stockdale QC and the
Bishop of Manchester David Walker.
He was also pleased to make the
acquaintance of Lisa Roberts QC who, in February 2017, became the first female
Attorney General of the Northern Circuit in its 800 year history. They swapped
stories and Gerry commented that he was the first Chinese High Sheriff in the
1,000 year history of the role, to which she responded humorously that she had
been 'beaten by 200 years!'
Gerry had a very entertaining evening and was
priviliged to spend time with some of the best brains in Britain.
30th June 2017
Greater Manchester Magistrates' Association Year
6 'Mock Trial' Competition
Gerry and Joanne were intrigued to receive an invitation from Gwynneth
Bellman JP, the Magistrates in the Community Co-Ordinator of the Greater
Manchester Magistrates' Association.
She was delighted to inform
them that they had been awarded a Patrons' Grant to fund a Mock Trials
Competition for Year 6 pupils in Greater Manchester and there were 10
schools from across the region taking part at the Friends Meeting House in
Wellgreen Primary School, Hale
Moss Park Junior
Woodlands Community Primary School, Heywood
Hugh's RC Primary School, Timperley
Greenbank Primary School,
RochdaleWorethington Primary School, Sale Moor
Moorlands Junior School,
St Vincent's RC Junior School, Altrincham
Park Road Junior
Bowdon Church School, Bowdon
The competition would provide a wonderful opportunity for the children
to participate in an event that would exercise their verbal reasoning and
public speaking skills, as well as their ability to work as a team
Gerry and Joanne thought it was an excellent idea and couldn't wait
for the day to arrive.
They arrived for lunch at 12 noon and just
as trial 2 between Woodlands Community Primary School and St Hugh's RC
Primary School had come to a close.
They were welcomed and
introduced by Gwynneth Bellman and were soon surrounded by the children
and learning how their trial had panned out. Woodlands had been the
prosecuting council and St Hugh's the defending council. All the children
had enjoyed the experience. They were also fascinated by Gerry's uniform
(especially his sword and his hat!) and he told them what it was like to
be a High Sheriff. They were soon posing with Gerry and Joanne and taking
it in turns to wear his hat!
After lunch, Gerry and Joanne watched Trial 3, between Greenbank Primary
School and Worthington Primary School. It was all about the case of a
The children acted out the criminal trial, either
prosecuting or defending the case, playing the parts of Magistrates, legal
professionals, witnesses and defendants. Marks were awarded based on their
abilities to argue effectively and to plead their case, not only on the
guilty or innocent verdict.
was a very finally balanced case, but the final decision was 'not guilty'!
There was a shield and book tokens for the winning school, prizes for
the runners up and also a Court Artist and Court Reporter competition.
It was a very enjoyable experience for both children and the High
Sheriff alike! The GMA are hoping to organise another competition for
older children later in the year.
Gerry and Joanne are hoping that
there performance on this occasion will warrant them being invited for a
5th May 2017
The High Sheriff and Joanne arrived at Fairfield Golf & Sailing Club for the Greater Manchester High Sheriff's Police Trust Golf Day to be met by a group of hard working Police Cadets who were doing an excellent job as parking attendants, stewards and even 'caddies ' carrying golf clubs for the contestants.
Gerry and Joanne managed to grab a quick cuppa as the teams gathered near the Club House, were entertained by the GMP Band and prepared to tee off.
Gerry sent them off with some encouraging words. That morning there had been a story on the news about albatrosses (the feathered variety!) being counted by satellites He hoped that there would be many more (the golfing variety!) to be counted during the competition, but none to be found on the menu that evening!
It was a gloriously sunny day, but rather windy which provided quite a challenging day for golf.
Not being golfers, Gerry and Joanne then left the teams to enjoy their afternoon of sport and promised to return for the dinner that evening.
Gerry returned in full uniform, bringing his sword rather than a club!
Ex President, Paul McKee made a warm welcoming speech and Glen Lockett, Head of Income Generation for Greater Manchester High Sheriff's Police Trust also said a few words.
Everyone then enjoyed a delicious dinner and excellent company.
After dinner, Gerry made a short speech. He congratulated the winning team. There were actually two teams, Lucas Fettes and Sammon Media, who drew for first place, but Lucas Mettes took the trophy on the back nine.
He also congratulated everyone who took part and helped to raise funds of almost £7,000 for the Greater Manchester High Sheriff's Police Trust, which supports projects in the area that reduce crime and the fear of crime in our communities, as well as providing help to vulnerable people of all ages.
He caused quite a stir by claiming that golf was actually invented in China over 1,000 years ago! His golf jokes also went down well with a very generous audience, though not as well as the ones told by very funny professional comedian, Charlie Hale, after dinner.
An entertaining and successful day was enjoyed by all.
7th May 2017
The 25th Anniversary of Homeland Day Nursery in Altrincham was held on a gloriously warm and sunny day.
Gerry and Joanne arrived safely after waiting for what seemed like an eternity at a nearby level crossing for both trams and trains to cross!
They were greeted by Alice Apel, the owner, and Lisa Roberts, the manager, who showed them around.
The party was set up in a beautiful garden space where families, including grandparents, parents, children and babies, were enjoying cake stalls, climbing frames and bouncy castles.
It was immediately obvious that the nursery was a very happy place. Gerry and Joanne were introduced to staff and guests and were surrounded by lots of smiling faces.
Gerry made a short speech of congratulations and thoroughly enjoyed cutting the delicious and beautifully made cake - not with his sword!
They chatted to lots of parents and children, who shared stories of Homeland. Many of the guests were past parents who came with teenagers who had attended the nursery as small children.
One of the sweetest experiences was meeting a family who had come back specially to see the music teacher, because they used to enjoy her sing along sessions so much. She was sat in a corner with her guitar and some puppets surrounded by a group of children who were thoroughly enjoying joining in with her.
Happy children, some wearing princess dresses and many with their faces painted, had a wonderful day.
It was a joy!
9th May 2017
The High Sheriff met with Amy Stevens from Gifted Philanthropy this
afternoon. They had a very interesting conversation about Dippy on Tour.
Apparently, the Natural History Museum's iconic diplodocus skeleton will be
visiting Rochdale between February and June 2020.
Gerry enjoyed the
discussion and was delighted to talk about something that is actually older than
him! The visit of Dippy will be used to help spread the word about the key
themes of Origins and Evolution, Biodiversity and Sustainability.
keep you updated as to progress.
We all love dinosaurs are very much
looking forward to welcoming Dippy to Rochdale.
10th May 2017
The Dean of Manchester, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, graciously
invited the High Sheriff to his office at Manchester Cathedral.
Gerry very much enjoyed meeting the Dean and learned a lot about Manchester
and especially about the Cathedral.
The Dean's belief in justice and
inclusiveness has exemplifies itself in his engagement with the various
stakeholders and communities in Manchester. Like Gerry, he has made Manchester
his home. He has made many connections with all the other faith communities.
During his time as Dean, with the help of his team (including the High
Steward, who is Warren Smith, the Lord Lieutenant), he has raised an incredible
£10,000,000 for Manchester Cathedral.
Under his aegis, a continuous
restoration programme has been carried out, including the installation of
under-floor heating, a new organ etc.
During 2016 Manchester Cathedral had a new organ built, generously sponsored
by the Stoller Charitable Trust. The total cost was approximately £2.6m. The
Stoller Organ will be at the centre of Cathedral music and in use virtually
every day of the year for services, concerts, recitals, recordings and teaching.
The building works were completed in the winter of 2016/17, and the voicing and
sounding of the instrument is still taking place.
The Hope Window was generously sponsored by the Oglesby Charitable Trust.
The glorious new stained glass window was dedicated in December and replaced an
existing plain glass window.
The Dean kindly took Gerry on a tour of the
Cathedral and told him all about the history of the beautiful church.
1215 Robert Greslet, Lord of the Manor and 5th Baron of Manchester decided to
build the current church next to his manor house (now Chetham's Library). By
1360 the delicately carved arch into the Lady Chapel was built, as well as the
former tower. Over many years the Parish Church was extended, but it was only in
1847 that the Diocese of Manchester was created and the church became a
By 1864 the tower was in a dangerous condition, it was
demolished and the foundation stone was laid for a new one. The new tower was a
replica of the old one, but six feet taller and completed in 1868.
parts of the Cathedral were replaced over the next 80 or so years, as well as
extensions and a refectory and Choir School.
The Manchester Cathedral
Choir comes from Chetham's School, built on the same site.
In 1940 a German
bomb destroyed most of the North East of the Cathedral as well as damage to the
rest of the building. It took almost twenty years to restore. One of the stained
glass windows is called the Window of fire and depicts the Blitz.
1996 an IRA bomb exploded close to the Cathedral and caused further damage.
Over the last ten years much of the stonework has been cleaned and the building
has become 'open' with large amounts of public space.
It is an open and
welcoming community space as well as a beautiful and inspirational place of
Gerry enjoyed a fascinating learning experience and very much looks
forward to working with the Dean during his year as High Sheriff.
11th May 2017
Manchester & Salford Universities Royal Naval
Unit's Annual Reception
The event was held in the University Barracks on Boundary Lane in
Manchester. They are just behind the University of Salford. The High Sheriff had
travelled along that road dozens of times and yet he had never noticed that
there was a barracks there!
Gerry and Joanne were greeted warmly by Lt
Phil Curry and groups of very enthusiastic young naval cadets.
The idea of
the Annual Reception is to provide a training evolution for the cadets and
provides an opportunity to expose them to a more formal 'meet and greet'. The
event mimics the kind of receptions that are routinely held on board Her
Majesty's Warships when they visit foreign ports; they allow dignitaries and
heads of business to meet the ship's company and to discuss British interests in
the local area. This event showcased what the Manchester & Salford Universities
Royal Naval Unit has achieved over the last 12 months.
The cadets are all
university undergraduates, some were new recruits and some had been cadets for a
Every week they come to the barracks for training; physical,
leadership and social. Every summer they are assigned tasks of various types,
they could even become part of the crew of a patrol boat. The tasks can lead to
promotion within the cadets.
Some of the cadets decide to enter the Navy
as a career and apply in the usual way. Some choose other career paths.
Whichever way, becoming a Naval Cadet is a tremendous experience.
cadets were bright, cheerful, polite, proud and sociable - a credit to the Navy.
Gerry and Joanne really enjoyed the evening and their company. They send
their very best wishes to all of them for their future.
Broughton House Centenary Service at Manchester Cathedral
The High Sheriff and Joanne were honoured to attend a service commemorating
the 100th anniversary of Broughton House at Manchester Cathedral.
Broughton House was opened in 1916 and since then it has cared for more than
8000 veterans of our armed forces - 'caring for those who cared for us'.
A huge congregation was seated in the cathedral as they arrived, Joanne took
her seat and Gerry joined the civic line up awaiting the arrival of HRH The Duke
The Royal Car arrived at the West Door and the Lord Lieutenant
introduced HRH The Duke of York to the Dean of Manchester, The Very Revd. Rogers
Govender and the Sub-Dean, The Rev'd Canon Philip Barratt.
presented The Bishop of Manchester, The Bishop of Middleton, The Lord Mayor of
Manchester, The Mayor of Salford and the Chairman of Broughton House, Professor
Sir Netar Mallick DL MB FRCP as well as two residents from Broughton House.
The service was dignified and beautiful, led by the Dean of Manchester, sung
by the Choir of Manchester Cathedral conducted by Christopher Stokes, the organ
was played majestically by Geoffrey Woollatt and Gary Hulme, Organist for
Broughton House. Stirring music was played before and during the service by the
Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire).
The CEO of
Broughton House, Mr Ty Platten spoke from the heart about the plans for
Broughton House for the next 100 years, including fund raising for a complete
After refreshments, the civic line up re-formed as HRH The Duke
of York left the Cathedral, this time including the grandson of the founder of
It was a very moving and inspirational experience.
16th May 2017
The Annual Council Meeting and the Civic Reception of The Mayor of
Stockport, Cllr Linda Holt and her consort, Mr Ken Holt.
Stockport is Gerry's home borough and this was the first time that he had ever
attended an Annual Meeting of the Council. He enjoyed observing and absorbing
the tradition and formality of the event.
In attendance were the Vice
Lord Lieutenant, many fellow DLs from Stockport as well as the retiring Mayor,
Councillor Chris Gordon and his Mayoress, Dr Margaret Gordon, the retiring
Deputy Mayor, all the Council Members and friends and family of the incoming
Mayor, Cllr Linda Holt and her consort, Ken Holt.
The retiring Mayor opened the meeting by announcing his retirement. The
incoming Mayor and her consort were then elected and returned thanks. The past
Mayor & Mayoress were then thanked for their services and given a replica of
their badges as a memento.
The incoming Deputy Mayor & Mayoress were then
appointed in the same way.
Council business was then conducted by the
Leader of the Council, Cllr Alex Ganotis.
Gerry later learned that the
current Mayoral Consort, Ken Holt, had been the Mayor of Stockport some years
ago and the present Mayor, Cllr Linda Holt was his Mayoress. This year they will
enjoy role reversal!
He also learned that Cllr Alex Ganotis's ward is Heaton North, Gerry's home
During the Civic Reception and afternoon tea after the meeting and
listening to the powerful music of The Mighty Wurlitzer, played with style by
Charles Brown, Gerry sat next to Cllr Alex Ganotis, who was a delightful young
man and really embodied the spirit of serving the community. He felt that his
home ward of Heaton North was definitely in good hands!
The Mayor Making Ceremony of The Mayor of Oldham,
Councillor Shadab Qumer and his Mayoress, Mrs Sobia Arshi
Today Gerry experienced his second annual General Meeting as he and Joanne
attended the Mayor Making Ceremony and Lunch of the Mayor of Oldham.
Oldham has a very modern Town Hall, built in the 1960's and, as they arrived at
the Council Chambers, they spoke with the retiring Mayor & Mayoress, Cllr Derek
Heffernan and his Mayoress, Mrs Di Heffernan .They also met with good friends,
Sir Norman & Lady Sheila Stoller and the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Edith Conn.
The incoming Mayor, who is a traditional family man, attended the University
of Leicester, after which he set up a very successful furniture business. He is
a very enthusiastic, inclusive and diligent councillor and when he was on the
Planning Committee , he visited the site related to every application!
His wife will support him as Mayoress , with the help of his 16 year old
After the Mayor Making, a delicious luncheon was provided in the Queen
Elizabeth Hall with a choice between English and Indian food. Gerry and Joanne
enjoyed the Chicken Tikka, Vegetable Pakora Salad and the Lamb Karahi.
the meal they spoke with the first ever CEO of Oldham Council, Carolyn Wilkins,
who has carried out a lot of good work on the regeneration of Oldham Town
Both Gerry & Joanne were amused and fully understood the Mayor's
comment that they would be so busy this year that they would have no time for
cooking, so to feed the family they he would need to download the Pizza Express
app onto his phone and order on the way home from engagements!
18th May 2017
The High Sheriff and Joanne were honoured to host their first Judges'Dinner
at Yang Sing Restaurant.
Gerry pulled out all the stops, created the
menu and asked his wine guru from Gerrard Seel, who also attended the dinner, to
pair the dishes with just the right wines.
Gerry & Joanne were ably
supported by a small group of friends - good food, good wine and good company!
19th May 2017
The High Sheriff and Joanne were invited by the Confucius Institute and the
University of Manchester to attend the premiere of From Shore to Shore, a
multilingual theatre event , incorporating food and music, which tells the story
of the UK Chinese Community through English, Mandarin and Cantonese and was
performed by a Chinese cast.
The afternoon premiere was held at the Yang
From Shore to Shore is possibly the first ever play
written about Chinese migration to UK. It was very well performed - with
emotion, humour, romance and songs.
Gerry and Joanne were privileged to be there and felt a great affinity with the
play and the characters, not only because it is the dramatisation of many real
life stories that they have come across over the years, but also because they
possibly made a minor contribution.
They were both interviewed by the
playwright, award winning writer, Mary Cooper and her collaborator, Mimi W Sun
(a friend of Gerry from university days) , and maybe some of their life
experiences found their way into the play.
The essence of the play is the
question of home - and how you find it. There are many perspectives in that
search, but if you look at it through the eyes of migrants, like Gerry and
Joanne, it is as much about retaining their Chinese heritage as being part of
the mainstream society and culture.
Gerry was particularly pleased to see
the Chinese actors on the day. For whilst the Chinese second generation is well
integrated and extremely successful, there are relatively few Chinese who have
found their way into the acting profession. They are real trailblazers.
Joanne congratulated the cast on a very moving performance and left them some
wine to celebrate with after the evening performance that day. They hope that
the play will be adopted into mainstream theatre one day.
20th May 2017
Chinese Song UK at Manchester Central
Sheriff and Joanne had an amazing evening - really enjoyable!
Song UK was set up three years ago , organised by the UK Young Chinese
Entrepreneur Association and sponsored by the Confucius Institutes as an event
to encourage cultural exchange. The competitors are all non-Chinese, but they
sing Chinese songs.
The competition commences with auditions before the
day and by Saturday there were 10 finalists of various ages (from 20s to 60s)and
backgrounds. They could be language students studying Mandarin or people simply
learning Mandarin as a hobby, some of them through the Confucius Institute.
One competitor was from North Wales. He loves singing and went to a Chinese
party, where they encouraged him to sing in Chinese. He said that if they would
teach him, he would do it. They did and he was hooked!
The songs performed
were many varied, from modern popular songs, to 1980's Chinese pop by Teresa
Teng, to traditional songs performed in masked costumes which were first sung
over 2000 years ago. There was even one guy who was rapping!
were professionals: opera singers, song writers and a lecturer from Royal
Northern College of Music. The compères were presenters from Propeller TV and
The standard of singing was superb, their mastery of Mandarin
incredible and the competition very high .
The £3,000 First Prize was
eventually awarded to Alec Loane from North Wales and Gerry awarded the Second
Prize of £2,000 to Emily Williams.
After the awards were presented, lots of the competitors and organisers
wanted to have their photos taken with Gerry in his uniform!
Joanne are very much hoping that they will be able to go again next year!
21st May 2017
At 11am on 21st May at Manchester Cathedral the Civic Service took place in
the presence of the Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester,
Councillor Eddy Newman.
The Lord Mayor will be supported by two Lady
Mayoresses for the year, his daughter Naomi for the first six months and his
wife, Sheila for the second.
A fanfare was sounded and the dignitaries,
including the High Sheriff, processed into the cathedral, whilst the
congregation sang Amazing Grace.
The Lord Mayor was greeted by
representatives of Manchester's faith communities:-
The Rt. Rev. David
Walker, Bishop of Manchester on behalf of the Christian community.
Sharon Banister on behalf of the Jewish community.
Mr A K Sinha on
behalf of the Hindu community
Afzal Khan CBE MEP on behalf of the
The Venerable Miao Di, Director of Fu Guan Shan
Temple on behalf of the Buddhist community
and the Dean of Manchester
welcomed the congregation to the service.
It was an uplifting, inclusive
and inspirational experience.
The Civic Service was followed by a delicious buffet in the Great Hall at
Manchester Town Hall.
21st May 2017
Later on 21st May, the High Sheriff and Joanne were honoured to attend the
Civic Sunday Celebration of The Right Worshipful The Ceremonial Mayor of
Salford, Councillor Peter Connor at St Paul's Parish Church, Moor Lane, Kersal.
The Mayor was sixth in a family of ten children and was born and grew up in
Salford. He left school aged 15 and started work. His political career started
by joining the trade union in the engineering industry, he was later appointed
shop steward and convenor.
His wife, Mary, is a writer and a painter .
Together they have six children, fourteen grandchildren and five great
grandchildren. They also worked as foster parents in Salford for over 20 years.
The Mayor was accompanied by his two Mayoresses, his wife Mrs Mary Connor
and his daughter in law, Mrs Claire Connor.
Job sharing seems to be the
in thing for Mayoresses this year!
The Mayor was welcomed by the Redd
Canon Lisa Battye, Area Dean of Salford and Rabbi Benjamin Simmonds from
Manchester Great and New Synagogue.
Following prayers for Salford were
readings from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.
made a moving address.
After Prayers of Dedication, a Blessing and a
rousing verse of the National Anthem the service came to a close.
It was followed by afternoon tea in the social area of St Paul's Church,
which was relaxed warm and friendly.
22nd May 2017
23rd May 2017
On this poignant, painful and respectful day, a day overflowing with sadness
and reverberating with shock, the people of Manchester came together in Albert
We expressed our sorrow for the victims of the dreadful
atrocities carried out in Manchester Arena and our support and solidarity for
their families and for Manchester.
We paid our respects and laid flowers
which rapidly grew into a sea of colour in a dark and sombre city.
Vigil brought together people from all ages, ethnicities, faiths and cultures,
bound by emotion and complete unity. In the midst of sorrow was pride, passion,
defiance and the true diversity of Manchester.
It was attended by the Mayors of all the ten boroughs, the CEOs of local
authorities, community leaders from all the ethnic groups, the leaders of all
the faith groups, the Lord Lieutenant, Chief Constable, Honorary Recorder of
Manchester and a number of local and national politicians.
attended by the people of Manchester in solidarity.
As High Sheriff, I
joined the Vigil. The city was reflective and there was a real sadness, with
everyone speaking in hushed respectful tones.
When the Vigil started,
the mood of the thousands of us who came together in Albert Square was palpable.
Someone in the crowd shouted 'thank you' to the Police and the Emergency
Services and everyone burst into spontaneous applause. In fact there was
applause at various times in response to the the speeches which were made.
The powerful reading of the poem, This is the Place, by Tony Walsh captured
the hearts of everyone in Albert Square and encapsulated our feelings.
The Bishop of Manchester, who was born in the city, spoke most movingly and
eloquently from the heart.
No-one can ever fathom the mindset of people
who carry out such acts of terror.
We all need to be truly thankful that
we live in a country where we have effective institutions and efficient and
caring emergency services who respond tirelessly and wholeheartedly and upon
whom we can rely entirely.
The whole of the Manchester community has
united and responded to this dreadful atrocity with true and unequalled
Manchester spirit - grit, pride and togetherness.
Never forget. Forever Manchester'
Tony Walsh aka Longfella This is the Place
25th May 2017
Reception at the Grand Hall, the Old Bailey, London
The High Sheriff and Joanne with all the High Sheriffs of England & Wales
were invited by The Sheriffs of the City of London, Alderman William Russell and
Alderman Peter Estlin to attend a reception in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey
55 High Sheriffs from all across the country travelled to London with
their spouses or partners.
Gerry and Joanne entered the building through
a very small and unimpressive doorway, were thoroughly security checked and
directed along a little passageway which, when they opened the door at the end
of the corridor, felt as though they were going through the back of the wardrobe
The door opened into a more open area where glimpses of
grandeur were already apparent.
They then walked up a beautiful marble
staircase, on which was a bust of Mendelssohn, a gift from the people of Berlin.
The staircase lead to the Grand Hall, which was palatial, awesome and took
their breath away.
Waiters stood elegantly, offering champagne and canapés.
William Russell gave a very interesting address on the history of the Old Bailey
and of the role of High Sheriff.
Gerry & Joanne met up with the other
High Sheriffs from the Duchy of Lancaster, The High Sheriff of Lancashire,
Robert Mitchel Webb JP DL and the High Sheriff of Merseyside, Stephen Burrows DL
and their wives, as well as the High Sheriffs of Cheshire and Cumbria and made a
date to meet up in the near future.
They also enjoyed conversations with many other High Sheriffs, including
those of North Wales and Bedfordshire.
They had a good chat with Alderman
Peter Estlin and his wife, who actually live at the Old Bailey. The role of
Sheriff of the City of London is a six year appointment. Peter was a banker and
was posted to Hong Kong 1996-1998. He remembers the ceremony when Hong Kong was
handed back to China, which was a very rainy day! Their children were very young
at the time and don't remember anything about life in Hong Kong. From there the
family returned to UK, but Peter was posted to New York and came home to the
family every weekend!
Many High Sheriffs came over to us and offered
heartfelt words of comfort after the dreadful atrocities in Manchester. We all
shared our shock, sorrow and unity.
28th May 2017
As High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, one of Gerry's most important tasks
is to support the good causes in our communities so, as he mentioned at his
Installation, he decided to go for 'crowd funding' and to ask all his generous
family, friends and colleagues to sponsor him as he took part in the Great
His chosen charities are:
Gerry has been President of Disabled Living for
over 10 years. The charity is in its 120th year and their aim is to support
people to maintain independence and enhance and improve their lives.
Re:dish is a community based charity, set up by Gerry's Chaplain, Rev. Angie
Stanton of St Elisabeth's Church, Reddish to improve the lives of everyone in
Wai Yin Society (www.waiyin.org.uk)
Wai Yin was set up in 1988 and provides women and parenting, employment,
education and crisis support services to Chinese individuals and families, as
well as other ethnic minority groups. The charity aims to challenge all forms of
discrimination and social exclusion.
Greater Manchester High
Sheriff's Police Trust (www.gmhspt.org)
The Trust supports projects that reduce crime and fear of crime in our
communities, so that together we can find practical solutions to crime
challenges and make Greater Manchester a better place to live and work.
Chinese Health Information Centre (www.chinese-health.org.uk)
CHIC was established in 1987 to help the Chinese community in Manchester to
access the Health Service.
Local Chinese Sunday Schools
Which teach British born Chinese not only their mother tongue but also
traditions and history.
His aims were to complete the run in less than an
hour and to raise over £20,000 to share between the charities.
atmosphere in Manchester was electric. There were over 30,000 competitors and
over 3,000 from University of Manchester alone, who were given their own Purple
After the terrible happenings on 22nd May, it was as
though everyone came out to support and stand in solidarity with Manchester.
Gerry was in the Blue Wave which set off at 2pm. Before they started a
minute's silence was held and, despite the roads being lined with people at
least five deep, the silence was complete and you could hear a pin drop.
Joanne and their daughter, So Yi also took part in the Run, but because they
were in the Pink Wave they could cheer Gerry on before it was their turn.
After considerable effort and a lot of sweat, Gerry was delighted to learn
that he had achieved his first aim and went over the finishing line at 00:58:34!
If you would like to help him achieve his second aim, you can support him by
donating on his Virgin Money Giving Page
29th May 2017
The Saga of the High Sheriff's Sword!!!!
On Bank Holiday Monday, Gerry and Joanne travelled to London by
train in preparation for an engagement on the following day and the Royal Garden
Party on 1st June.
Included in their luggage was Gerry's uniform and his
ceremonial sword in its special bag. Their daughter, So Yi, who lives in London
, was on the train too travelling home after taking part with them in the Great
As you can imagine, they were all rather tired after the
previous day's exertions......well that's their story and they are sticking to
Late in the evening, they arrived in Euston, gathered their luggage
together, left the train and headed off to So Yi's apartment. But..........
Just before midnight, Margaret, the High Sheriff's PA , who is the contact for
the High Sheriff's Office received a call, which she answered very sleepily! It
was a wonderful Police Constable from the British Transport Police at London
The High Sheriff's sword had been found on the train. So, they hadn't
gathered all their luggage together after all!!
Luckily, the sword is
engraved with Gerry's name and the clever PC (who it turns out was a local lad
and born in Preston) looked him up on the High Sheriff's website and called the
High Sheriff's Office. He commented that he has seen many unusual pieces of lost
property, but this was the first time that he had ever taken custody of a
ceremonial sword! Whereupon the High Sheriff explained that it was in fact an
1897 pattern British infantry officer's sword!!
Gerry and his sword were
reunited, he thanked the PC profusely and there was a very happy ending.
emergency services are incredible!
30th May 2017
The Inauguration of the
23rd Committee of the Confederation of Chinese Associations
The Confederation of Chinese Associations UK was formed in 1968.
Its aim is to integrate the Chinese community in UK into mainstream society but
also to ensure that they do not forget their roots. They also promote Chinese
culture to the younger generation. The Confederation acts as a bridge between
Chinese and UK bilateral trades and encourages friendship between the two
It is an umbrella organisation, whose members are made up of 42
other Chinese associations from all over UK.
Gerry and Joanne were invited to
the Inauguration, which was held at the Golden Dragon Restaurant on Gerrard
Street by the President Mr Kevin Kaman Tsang who met them on arrival.
It was attended by many people from the various
associations, many from afar, and by many dignitaries including Mr John Smith DL
(representing the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex), Councillor Par Hearn, the
Mayor of Eastbourne, the Chinese Embassy representative, Counsellor and Consul
General, Mr Fei Ming Xing and Ms Priscilla To, the Director General of the Hong
Kong Economic & Trade Office in London.
Gerry was also very grateful to the High Sheriff of Greater London, Mr
James Furber, who graciously gave his permission for Gerry to enter the
bailiwick of Greater London in his official role and wearing his High Sheriff's
The inauguration ceremony took place and speeches were given.
Gerry congratulated the new committee members and the Confederation on the
tremendous contributions that it has made to the wellbeing and welfare of the
Chinese communities across the country over the years.
He commented on the rise of economic activities in UK, the engaging of
the Chinese communities in a wide range of professional careers outside the
traditional businesses of restaurants and takeaways and the new Mandarin
speaking entrepreneurs who have ventured into import and export, logistics,
property and travel. He also touched upon huge state owned enterprises such as
Huawei and Beijing Construction.
However, he also encouraged the guests, many
of whom were leaders of Chinese communites, to be proactive in engaging,
connecting and partaking in mainstream community affairs, civic events. He said
that there were two major things to achieve: to be an integral part of the
British society and to bring benefits to local Chinese communities by doing
The formal proceedings were followed by a delicious lunch and a karaoke
session, both were enjoyed immensely by the guests!
13th April 2017
The Installation of the High Sheriff took place at the Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester.
The High Sheriff and his wife, Joanne, were privileged and delighted to share such a special day with officials, honoured guests, friends and family (some from as far away as Sweden) and even the High Sheriff's school friends who had travelled from Hong Kong for the occasion.
Gerry, describing himself as a Chinese Mancunian, told his guests how humbled he was to be made the custodian of one of the most ancient offices in the land. He illustrated his love for this country and sincerely thanked the Under Sheriff for expertly guiding them through the ceremony, as well as the Pro-Chancellor of University of Manchester and her team for their superb hospitality.
Gerry also announced his decision to go for 'crowd funding' and that he would take part on the Greater Manchester Run at the end of May to raise funds for some of the community causes in Greater Manchester.
15th April 2017
The High Sheriff and Joanne attended the Easter Camp Visitors' Day of the Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force at the Colonel Mary Creagh County Headquarters and Cadet Training Centre at
Hawkshaw, Bury where they were greeted by Colonel Paul A Irvine and had a wonderful afternoon awarding prizes, watching first aid courses, visiting the firing range and getting to know the very fit and dedicated cadets; along with the Lord Lieutenant, the Mayor & Mayoress of Bolton, the forthcoming Mayor of Bury and some former High Sheriffs.
Gerry and Joanne were made very welcome and thoroughly enjoyed their first engagement.
Friday 21st April 2017
The St George's Day Dinner was held by the Royal Society of St George at the historical Gorton Monastery .
In 1997 the Monastery was placed on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World alongside Pompeii, the Taj Mahal and the Valley of the Kings. Since then the church and associated friary buildings have undergone a £6 million restoration programme supported by funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and European Regional Development Fund. A beautiful new Welcome Wing was also added in 2014 thanks to Sir Norman Stoller and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
An inspirational venue for a patriotic and uplifting evening which was attended by the great and the good of Greater Manchester.
Gerry was very honoured to be seated next to the President of the RSSG, Mr William Firth, Bill described his role as 'to promote all things English within the framework of tolerance and open-mindedness and to explore common humanity'.
Gerry and Joanne had lots of fun, with speeches, good company, good food and good wine!
Amongst the rousing hymns - I Vow to the My Country, Jerusalem and more, everyone sang a very heartfelt Happy Birthday to Her Majesty the Queen. The patriotic music played ably by the Cadishead Public Band and the enthusiastic singing raised the historical rafters of Gorton Monastery and gave the evening a real celebratory and 'Last Night of the Proms' atmosphere as everyone waved the flag of St George in time to the music.
A great evening!
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Having had a very jolly evening on Friday, Sunday began on an altogether more sombre note, as Gerry and Joanne were honoured to be invited by the Northenden Branch of the Royal British Legion to attend the ANZAC Remembrance Service at Southern Cemetery.
It was the 102nd anniversary of the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25th April 1915, when Australian and New Zealand Forces fought for the first time under united command as
the ANZACs. In both countries ANZAC Day, 25th April, commemorates not only those first landings but all the Australians and New Zealanders who have given their lives in the service of their countries since.
Gerry and Joanne were greeted by Mr Graham McIsaac, the Branch President and also by their good friends, and fellow DL, Kath Robinson and her husband, Stuart.
Having told Kath that he had researched the history of ANZAC Day and the Gallipoli Landings, Kath explained to Gerry that there are war graves at Southern Cemetery for soldiers from both WWI and WWII . He also learned that a number of injured soldiers from the ANZACs were brought to Wythenshawe Hospital and the ones that did not recover from their injuries are amongst the war graves.
The service was very moving and Gerry and Joanne were especially touched by some of the words read out from the inscription on the memorial at ANZAC Cove in the Dardanelles, ending
'You, the mothers, who sent your sons from faraway countries , wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.'
The service was attended by Lieutenant Commander Rob Thompson, Royal Australian Navy and Flight Lieutenant Sam Bradley, New Zealand Defence Forces.
Lieutenant Commander Rob Thompson is on an exchange programme from Australia with the British Navy, is based in Bristol and had travelled to Manchester specially for the day with his wife and beautiful children. He laid a wreath in memory of the fallen Australian soldiers.
Flight Lieutenant Sam Bradley had also travelled from the south of England accompanied by his fiancée. He is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Engineering in UK. He laid a wreath in memory of the fallen soldiers from New Zealand.
Gerry was also delighted to meet the Standard Bearer, Mr Stephen Duncan from Hulme and his son,
During his engagements, Gerry is learning more and more about the city and the people of Manchester.
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Sunday afternoon brought another auspicious occasion when Gerry and Joanne attended the opening of the most impressive Stoller Hall.
They entered through Chetham's School across a specially constructed bridge which enters the new building at balcony level. There they joined the Civic Line Up with the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin- Behan and his Consort , Mr Simon Austin-Behan as they awaited the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex, the Patron of Chetham's School of Music.
The construction of the building was gifted by the Oglesby Family Trust and it has previously been used by Chetham's School to house practice rooms. The school then had a vision to create a space to match the unique talents of Chetham's young players and to enhance Manchester's reputation as a destination for every type of music. In 2014, the Stoller Charitable Trust offered to turn that dream into a reality and expertise in architectural and acoustic design was brought together to create an incredible performance space. The final fit out taking place in Autumn 2016.
It was a wonderful experience to raise a glass to such a unique venue.
The guests were seated, HRH the Earl of Wessex arrived, was sincerely welcomed and was accompanied onto the stage where, with charm and wit he formally opened Stoller Hall. To everyone's amusement he commented that this was the second time that he had visited the building, so he must had done a decent job the first time because he had been invited back!
The opening Celebration Concert was attended by the benefactor, Sir Norman Stoller. Conductor Sir Mark Elder and Director of Music at Chetham's, Stephen Threlfall directed a host of superb musicians in a specially formed orchestra of alumni, family and friends in a performance beginning with Walton's Henry V, Brahms Alto Rhapsody led
by mezzo soprano Kitty Whately, and Ginastera's Variaciones
Gerry's personal highlight was the relaxed, effortless and enchanting performance of alumnus and internationally renowned pianist, Paul Lewis, who completed the line up playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.2.
When the concert was over, the Civic Line Up reassembled and a comment was made by one of the Security Officers that the Royal Schedule was a little delayed. Gerry responded that it was only because the music had been so good and the performances so outstanding that encores had been demanded by the delighted audience. The laughing Security Officer said that was an excellent excuse and if any comments were made he would definitely blame the audience!
Sir Norman and Lady Sheila Stoller joined the Civic Line Up to say goodbye to HRH the Earl of Wessex, who was most charming. His presence was hugely appreciated by all.
Gerry also learned on the day that the next project at Chetham's School of Music is to extend the library building - so watch this space!
26th April 2017
Juanita Yau and Yen Siang Tan (CEO of Wai Yin Society)
At 7pm Gerry arrived at BBC Quay House to meet with Juanita Yau to record an interview for the radio programme, Eastern Horizon (95.1).
Eastern Horizon was first broadcast on 15th December 1983 as a recorded 30 minute programme once a month. It now broadcasts live on BBC Radio Manchester (as well as on the internet) every Saturday between midnight and 1am.
It is a community access programme produced by and for the Chinese Community in Greater Manchester and the North West and was founded, and is still run by, a group of Chinese volunteers and described as 'a communication channel between the Chinese community and the host community'.
Juanita has been a researcher, producer, editor, interviewer and presenter since 1990. She spends one day a week at Media City and gives her extensive skills entirely voluntarily. She is also chairs the Wai Yin Society - one of the largest BME community centres in UK, which has developed a range of employment, education and community services for Chinese men and women, as well as other ethnic minority groups; as well as aiming to challenge all forms of discrimination and social exclusion.
She is a very public spirited and a very busy lady!
This was the first time that Gerry had been interviewed in BBC Quay House, a modern open plan building in Media City, which has a huge atrium in the centre and also some rather cool looking circular pods in which people can meet!
He explained to Juanita how honoured and privileged he felt to be chosen by the Queen to be the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and to be the custodian of such an ancient office and that being 'part of history' is very exciting. If that wasn't enough, he is also the first ethnic Chinese High Sheriff, which creates an extra duty and pressure. He can't let the side down!
He described the duties of being High Sheriff and told her about some of the engagements that he and Joanne had enjoyed so far. Every day he is learning more and more about Greater Manchester and its different institutions and
She also asked about Gerry's family crest and how it was designed. He and Joanne went to London to visit Timothy Duke, the Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, to plan it in detail.
It is made up of a goat, symbolising Guangzhou (the 'City of the Goats') where Gerry was born; bauhinia flowers , the symbols of Hong Kong where Joanne was born and to where Gerry's family moved when he was a young child; four bees (bees being symbols of Manchester and four to represent Gerry, Joanne and their two children) and camellia flowers, because Gerry and Joanne's family home is called Camellia House. It also contains dragon fire and includes the colours of the Ching Army Military Flag for the Han People to which the Yeung family historically belongs.
In the past mottos on family crests have traditionally been in English or Latin. Gerry believes that his could be the first ever motto in Chinese. It translates as:
Positive and diligent in all endeavours. Accepting and magnanimous of heart'
She then asked him whether he had any other maxims by which he lives.
As a migrant to UK Gerry has always lived by his goal 'to learn, to understand, to participate in and to enjoy British life'. However, at the Installation of a previous High Sheriff he learned the motto; ' Integrity, humility & generosity' and adopted it as an aspiration that he always tries to live up to.
Juanita was intrigued to find out how Gerry manages to juggle the duties of the High Sheriff with running a busy restaurant! He said that he was lucky to have a good team behind him!
When asked whether there was anything he would like to add, Gerry commented that Eastern Horizon is a programme aimed at second generation British born Chinese and that he would like to encourage them to get involved in their communities, which would not only help to enrich their communities but also enrich their own lives in return.
More essential team work!
29th April 2017
As the High Sheriff and Joanne arrived at Sedgley Park Training Centre for the Greater Manchester Police Cadets Annual Competition 2017, they were honoured to be met by the Chief Constable, Mr Ian Hopkins.
Gerry was in full uniform and asked whether his sword was required for the day. The Chief Constable commented that he believed that the High Sheriff was in a very safe place already, so Gerry left it in the car!
Before the parade, Gerry and Joanne were talking with a number of guests and learned that we have 800 Special Constables in GMP. They are all volunteers and provide a minimum of four hours service per week. They are yet another fine example of community spirit in action in the area. Apparently, many Police Forces in the country come to Greater Manchester to learn more about the success of our Special Constables.
Teams of Cadets from many areas of Greater Manchester, including Oldham, Irlam, Hyde, Trafford, Bolton, Ashton & Blackley, were tested in many different policing skills and prizes were awarded for each category. Prizes were presented by, amongst others, The Chief Constable, The Police Commissioner, Tony Lloyd and the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan. Gerry was delighted to award the prize for Drill skills.
He congratulated the winning team from Trafford and told everyone that, at the risk of sounding cheesy, they were all winners. Politely, nobody groaned! The winning team received a huge trophy and all the team members were given gold medals. Having presented all the medals to the winners and the runners up, Gerry finally realised that all the bowing from the Cadets wasn't because he was High Sheriff, but because they were all taller than him and it was the only way that he could get the medals over their heads!
After the presentations, Gerry sought out his own Cadets, Shannon Donnelly and Natasha Watkins, who were competing in the team from Oldham, to pass on his personal congratulations.
here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Winter 2015
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer 2014
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer
edition of The High Sheriff magazine