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Greater Manchester

County News


May 2017

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!

April 2017

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 with...

'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, Kaine.


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 Concertantes.

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 organisations.

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.

Click here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer 2016 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

Click here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Winter 2015 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

Click here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer 2015 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

Click here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer 2014 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

Click here to view the Greater Manchester News published in the Summer 2013 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 


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