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County News


January 2019

As soon as Christmas and New Year celebrations were over and the decorations removed, we were able to take a break, spending two weeks walking in Southern Spain.  The light in Andalucia at that time of year is a wonderful antidote to the, often, grey days of South Yorkshire.  We returned energized and refreshed. 

Sadly, due to the holidays, we missed the presentation of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service being awarded to the ‘CARE’ group from a village close to home, where, over many years, people have got together to improve the local environment. They develop and maintain gardens and wild spaces; organise hanging baskets and generally care for their community; the QAVS is the equivalent to an MBE, so an honour indeed!   We will catch up with the group again shortly and take the award into local Primary Schools to explain the significance of the award and how the schools could become involved.

Several meetings have taken place this month, with the Under Sheriff and others, to plan the legal service, which will take place in April; this is probably the biggest event of the High Sheriff’s year.  Mine will take place at Doncaster Minster followed by lunch at the Mansion House.

I had a short meeting with someone who is a High Sheriff in nomination to help inform and prepare for what is involved in the role. I believe that greater attention should be paid to mentoring of High Sheriffs in nomination by past High Sheriffs to enable a smooth flow into the role.

We also took part in another Citizenship Ceremony in Sheffield.  The diversity of skills and knowledge, which people bring from a wide range of countries, confirms that many do find us a welcoming country and want to stay here; long may that last! However, whilst I welcome the skills that are brought to the UK, I am saddened that their home country will not benefit from those same skills.

Once more our local authority, Barnsley, generously helped us to host members of the judiciary, along with friends, at Experience Barnsley, the town’s museum located in the Town Hall.  We heard an introduction to the wonderful cultural sites in the town and were shown several items from the archives.  These included the certificate granting the charter for Barnsley as a Metropolitan Borough and a letter from Oliver Cromwell, along with an opportunity to browse the shelves, looking up old records.  We heard how Barnsley Archive service is probably in the top ten in the country for the number of people who use it, and how placing the service in the Town Hall has opened it to so many more people. There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes of archive material still to ‘mined’ and catalogued to facilitate an ever-changing exhibition of Barnsley life. Many items are now digitally available to allow even wider access.  We visited the temporary exhibition, Barnsley Remembers, about the end of World War 1, which graphically demonstrated, in a very personal way, the involvement of many Barnsley women and men in that tragic era, as well as the celebrations and home-comings.  We were introduced to staff, who spoke of their work in receiving, cataloguing and displaying exhibits donated by local people.  This is very much a museum of Barnsley, filled by donations about Barnsley, from Barnsley people. We handled mysterious items – some of which remain mysterious – as well as more familiar artefacts such as a collection of tins made by The Barnsley Canister Company, We all enjoyed a delicious buffet supper, in the museum, surrounded by exhibits and displays. 

We joined in the annual Sheffield Hospital Sunday Service at the Sheffield Jewish Congregation Kingfield Synagogue, an ecumenical service which supports the Hospital Charity.  We not only shared the service but also a wonderful afternoon tea where we heard how the money donated is used to help people in small, but essential, ways relating tohospital visits or stays. 

The following day I attended two Holocaust Memorial events, Learning from genocide – for a better future. The first was in Rotherham where I took part in a procession through the town to an open-air event entitled “Torn from Home”; the official theme for 2019.We heard singing and music from local schools and musicians, tributes and speeches from local dignitaries and a talk and song from Rabbi Golom.A moving personal account from a refugee of how she spent time in a refugee camp and eventually made her way to the UK where she has been able to receive education and build a new life was a powerful example of the compassion that is inherent in us, and our  communities.

Children from Rotherham singing for dignitaries and guests for the Holocaust Memorial

The second was in Barnsley where we met in a local secondary school.  Pupil awards were presented for their poetry about the Holocaust; others interpreted the Holocaust through dance,following a day of learning and understanding the reasons for the memorial.  We heard from a Holocaust Survivor about his experiences of escaping the horrors and traumas of the genocide; a moving and challenging story.  The event also marked other genocides, which have taken place, as well as those continuing today.  This marked the end of a sad, reflective and thought-provoking day. 

On a more optimistic note, the following day I attended one of a series of planned launches of the new Barnsley CVS taking place at a number of community venues around the Borough. This was a strong demonstration of the desire of the service to reach out into all parts of the town.  It was good to learn how their declared role is to, “…promote any charitable purpose for the benefit of Barnsley, such as the advancement of education, health and the relief of poverty, by bringing together the whole Third Sector and local partner agencies.”  This new beginning for CVS is to be welcomed and supported.

Another celebration was held the following day at Centrepoint, in Barnsley, where we were invited, along with many others, to mark the contributions made by volunteers, donors and partners.  The first year report, April 2017-18, tells of hard work, commitment and dedication by the whole team and catalogues a year of events and activities and progress. The visit by HRHs the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was a fitting tribute, not only to their work but also in marking the opening of an education and training centre in the grounds of Centrepoint, Barnsley.  I am encouraged by all who support this work in helping to make a huge difference to young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. By offering caring guidance, support, education, and sometimes ‘tough love’, lives are transformed.

The end of the month was marked with a meeting with the Executive Director of  ‘Place’ for Barnsley, where we discussed how we might promote some of the ‘under-recognised’ enterprises which have developed in the Borough. I know that there are innovative businesses, doing exciting things about which few people are informed.  We need to celebrate excellence and take pride in our industry. We are not good at blowing our own trumpets! I introduced the Director to some possible connections that I have made during my year.  Along with the Local Authorities and the Chambers of Commerce, I am sure that more can be done to celebrate many of the good things in all our South Yorkshire towns. I believe that networking in the interest of law and order;cohesion and co-operation; peace and harmony, in our towns and communities is a key role of the High Sheriff.

December 2018
This was a month of celebrations, with a great diversity of groups and organisations and whilst it was busy in the first 3 weeks, Christmas brought a sudden lull in official activities as most people focused on family and friends.

One of the highlights was another Royal visit by the Princess Royal to a family-run factory making hand-made shoes in Sheffield.  We were all impressed by this enterprise, which had been started by a Polish immigrant and is now being run by the fourth generation, with the majority of employees coming from Poland and other Eastern European countries.  Whilst many of the shoes were ‘sneakers’ some were made for children commissioned by the NHS and others manufactured for a famous brand known as DMs.  It was a delight to meet members of the family, see how the shoes are made and hold conversations with representatives of the British Shoe industry and the British Fashion Trade Association.  The Princess Royal, once again, demonstrated her understanding of yet another aspect of commerce and enterprise. 

We enjoyed several carol services including St Lukes Hospice at Sheffield Cathedral and with the Mayor of Doncaster at the Mansion House; another at the Cathedral was with the Fire and Police services and one with the Mayor of Barnsley at St Mary’s Parish Church.   We were able to join Crisis for a Christmas celebration of awards and achievements, in Doncaster and support the Christmas concert of Barnsley Youth Choir (BYC) (including the Development choir) and that of Barnsley Singers.  We were able to share the wonderful BYC with one of the District Judges and her family who had never heard the choir before.  We are sure they are now enthusiastic followers.  We were unable to attend the event but were delighted to hear that Barnsley Singers, their Musical Director Luke Mather and Crisis had joined forces for a very successful Christmas concert.  This was the first public appearance of the newly formed Crisis Choir; I had helped to facilitate its development.

Due to the generosity of Sheffield Theatres we were able to entertain one of the Circuit Judges to supper and a performance of Kiss Me Kate at the Crucible Theatre.  Such gestures are very much appreciated and help to expose people who work but not live in the city, to the many cultural activities which Sheffield offers.

We celebrated at home with a dinner with the Senior Recorder of Sheffield Courts, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, along with their partners and friends. Dining at home with such interesting people is a highly rewarding aspect of our work.  We were able to host a future High Sheriff at home and help her to gain more information and insight into the role.  We do feel that organising some kind of ‘buddying’ system could help both with continuity and dispelling any concerns, through assurances of how the role works.

I attended the Fire and Rescue Service awards event and conducted another Citizenship Ceremony in Sheffield. 

I had meetings with the Police and Crime Commissioner and other interested groups and organisations about how we are supporting people who are homeless or sleeping rough, across the county, as well as exploring prevention strategies.  I met with the Chair of Trustees of the Wentworth Wood house trust and heard, first hand, about the ambitions and work of the Trustees to restore this amazing building and create a sustainable plan of activitiy. 

We spent a morning in Doncaster with the Complex Lives team, which was a fascinating and inspiring experience.  We realised, even more than ever, how complex are the lives of people who are homeless and rough sleeping but also how skilled, dedicated, compassionate and realistic are those people who work to support those ‘on the streets’.  We saw the team at work.  We were able to walk through the town centre, talk with a retailer about issues and impact of homelessness and meet some people who are homeless.  This encouraged me in my determination to publish the ‘Survival Guide’; the fund-raising is going well.

It was great to ‘stop’ and enjoy the Christmas season with my family.

November 2018
This has been another busy month and already we are two thirds of the way through our year.  Hardly a day goes by without a commitment and some weeks have seen us out every day and evening. This is probably due to the fact that the role is only for 1 year and every opportunity is taken, knowing it won’t return! 

The month was marked with the Armistice commemorations and I attended a Cutlers Company of Hallamshire’s remembrance dinner prior to the Remembrance Weekend.  We stood alongside many others, at the Cenotaph in Barnsley on November 11th and marked the moving moment of 100 years without war in our country.  The public support, in spite of the cold, was outstanding.  In the evening we took a group of friends to a Remembrance dinner, organised by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and the Vulcan Rotary Club of Sheffield.  Here we were reminded, through various presentations and singing, of Sheffield’s contributions to and experiences of the First World War. 

We have made several court visits, in both Magistrates and County Courts.  We were impressed by the commitment and dedication of Magistrates in Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster as well as concerned about the pressures created by a shortage of Magistrates across the county.  There was some reassurance when we witnessed the swearing-in of 14 new Magistrates, at a welcome celebration, and learned that 40 more are to be recruited.  These voluntary roles are the bedrock of our justice system and deserve our support.  Our visits to the Crown Court were enhanced by the company of our Chaplain, and his wife; we were all informed and stimulated by the conversations we could hold with the Judges.  Such conversations were with us for some time as we gained insight into the complexity and challenges of many cases and increased our admiration and support for the course of the law.  We realize that Judges might feel isolated and alone in their roles and recognize the need for communal spaces and activities to build teams and vital support for each other.  We have constantly asked ourselves, ‘who supports the judges?’ when they are exposed to some of the most detailed, challenging, troubling and distressing situations.  Offering interest, conversation and hospitality, as well as spreading the message of the way they competently and compassionately manage the difficult work they must undertake,is something which the Shrievalty can do.

We had a wonderful day with graduands from University College Barnsley at two celebrations.  We shared Volunteer Awards events in Rotherham and Sheffield, celebrating the enormous contributions made by individuals and voluntary organisations to making a difference in our towns and communities.  We had several informal dinners with friends and spent a happy evening renewing friendships between my wife’s cousin, a Professor of Law in Sheffield and her judge husband.  We visited the Yorkshire Air Ambulance based at Nostell Priory and were generously hosted by the Chair of Trustees and his wife. The work of this charity is amazing in saving lives in our county and beyond. We were able to sit in the helicopter and be hugely impressed by the sophisticated equipment, which enables doctors and health professionals to carry out road-side procedures prior to hospitalization. 

The events, which probably impressed us most this month, were linked to our homelessness cause. We took part in a ‘Sleep-Out’ organised by our home-town branch of Centrepoint.  As homelessness is our ‘theme’ for the year, it wasn’t difficult to say ‘yes’ to the invitation to sleep under one of the football stands at Barnsley Football Club along with over 100 others.  We were reminded, through testimony and stories, of how it is easy to sterotype young people who are homeless.  Listening to the story of one young man who had been in the care of the Local Authority, had completed his degree and wanting to build up his resources to prepare to train to be a teacher, it was clear that he had no obvious place to call ‘home’.  Centrepoint Barnsley provides that place, until he is able to be completely independent.  The most salutary moment for us was when we rolled up our sleeping bags and went out into the cold morning air; we were returning home, but where would a homeless person go? And where would they sleep the next night?    These thoughts continue to exercise us.

The following week we were privileged to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Centrepoint, Barnsley on a chilly November morning; they received a truly warm Barnsley welcome. Their Royal Highnesses were gracious with their time, interested in our role and keen to engage in conversation.  These Patrons are just the kind of advocates this cause needs and they clearly take their roles very seriously. 

Finally, we were able to take an active part in a South Yorkshire Summit on Homelessness, organised by the Sheffield City Mayor and MP for Barnsley, Dan Jarvis.  We heard presentations from politicians and leaders of some of the key charities in the region and engaged in enthusiastic and informed discussion on some of the pressing issues.  We made links with more people and offered our services to advocate and support their work.  This was a great networking opportunity and one which we hope will lead to an action plan to address and eliminate homelessness in South Yorkshire.

The month ended with an informal event for members of the judiciary, people from other legal services and friends and family at the Cooper Art Gallery in Barnsley.  We were treated to a curated tour of the exhibition, Artists and Adventurers, celebrating the contribution of female artists to the diverse wealth of the Cooper Collection.  We enjoyed a convivial supper in the gallery, surrounded by paintings and images marking the 100 years of some women’s suffrage.  This was another wonderful opportunity, afforded to us by Barnsley MBC Arts, Culture and Heritage services.  We are hugely indebted to them for their partnership and contributions to our year. 

October 2018
What an amazing year this is!  Not only did we celebrate our Golden Wedding in August but,at the end of this month, my mother-in-law celebrated her 100th Birthday, in style, at our house, with all her children, grand-children and great-grand children around her.  My year as High Sheriff is being enhanced and made even more memorable, with these amazing milestones. 

The month began with a visit to St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield; it seems as if there is a tradition of High Sheriffs visiting and being impressed by the work of this well-established, sensitively and caringly-run organisation.  The additional day-centre facilities including creative and therapeutic activities enables St Lukes to offer wide-ranging support services to people with long–term conditions as well as to those who are nearing the end of life.  We could see what makes the hospice such a special place. 

The following day found us at the installation of the new Master Cutler, Nick Cragg, followed by a well-attended service at the Cathedral, which included some most appropriate readings and hymns.  In the evening we hosted a Sheffield QC and his son at the wonderful performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights’ Dream,at the Crucible Theatre, thanks to the generosity of Sheffield Theatres.  It was great to share the evening with a 14 year old, who is so passionate about Shakespeare!
The next day was marked by the Letters Patent ceremony at the Crown Court in Sheffield – an old custom, which is still practised in only a few courts across the country, to mark the start of the legal year.  This enabled us to, not only, witness and take part in this ancient tradition but also to sit in court withthe presiding Judge His Honour Mr Justice Males and other Judges, to observe proceedings. This experience was greatly enhanced by the conversations with the judges about the way justice is carried out, including gaining insight into the complexities of assessing and making the most appropriate judgements.

It was a great privilege to be invited to the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, by the Lord Lieutenant,Mr Andrew Coombe,to Shiloh, the organisation which supports homeless people in Rotherham.  As this is part of my ‘cause’ for the year, it was pleasing to see such public recognition for the wonderful work carried out by some paid and many volunteers in the town. 

In the evening we attended a fascinating presentation and panel discussion at The University of Sheffield, on the future of Higher Education, led by Sir Michael Barber, of the Office for Students.  We had a delightful supper after the event, where we shared conversations with University staff about the work of the university, including their own disciplines.

The North Eastern Circuit, Annual Legal Service was a grand occasion, which we were able to share with several friends, including my Chaplain and his wife.  It took place in York Minster. It was the last service for 2 years to be accompanied by the Minster organ, which is now being cleaned and restored.  The ceremonial dress of all members of the judiciary, along with mayors and clergy made a colourful procession as we walked through the streets in glorious sunshine to attend the traditional service which was full of relevance to the work of all the legal sector.  We enjoyed lunch and conversations in the Assembly rooms, with friends and colleagues from the judiciary. 

An easy Monday followed with only 1 meeting with a Sheffield Councillor to discuss homelessness issues in the city and explore working with the new mayor of the City Region, Dan Jarvis, on such issues.  Another Citizenship Ceremony was held in Sheffield Town Hall, the following day and I was then invited to talk at a Rotary meeting about my role and work.  Advocating about the work of the legal and associated professions as well as my charitable cause are vital aspects of my position.  I spoke, similarly, at a Bishop’s Breakfast meeting in Barnsley, on the same day that I presented awards to a Cadet’s Association.

A fascinating morning was spent with S Yorkshire Police in Barnsley town centre where I both drove and walked around, with officers.  I was impressed by their sensitive handling of relationships with the public, as well as their responses to obvious breaches of the law.  I could see how well informed and aware they were of people in the community.  I joined them again later in the month, on a Saturday night in Barnsley. This was a peaceful and law abiding night and showed me yet again how policing of a potentially volatile situation can be handled with care and sensitivity.A morning shift with the Town Centre Neighbourhood Team showed me the value of visible policing on our streets. The interaction with shoppers and traders makes everyone feel that their concerns have been listened to and their visits to the town can be made more comfortable. These outings gave me great insight into, and confidence in the high standards of policing in our town.

The next week started with a visit to Ben’s Centre in Sheffield, accompanied by an intern from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, who has been gathering information to include in a ‘Survival and Treatment Guide’, for homeless people in South Yorkshire.  The Centre is one of the few places, described as a ‘damp’ centre, where people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs can drop in for support, food, showers or to sleep. I continue to be humbled and amazed at the hard work and commitment that goes into supporting vulnerable, homeless people and rough sleepers, in our towns and city.

We were also able to spend 2 days in court this week, sitting with the judges and hearing trials which were either commencing or in session.  These days give us insight into the justice systems and processes but also help us to see how members of the judiciary are less of ‘a breed apart’ than many people may think.  We tend to regard Judges with a degree of awe and can consider them to be rather remote and far from in touch with the demands, challenges and vulnerabilities which many people experience.  We have found that this is not the case at all.  We have been warmly welcomed; patiently guided through the processes and systems and shared concerns about juggling family life, the demands of long hours of working and the often grueling evidence they must hear and see.  We repeatedly ask questions about who supports the judges when they are going through particularly horrendous cases of violence, sexual abuse or murder.  We also ask who could support jurors experiencing similar cases. 

On a lighter note, we celebrated and supported the South Yorkshire Community Foundation at their annual reception. This year we weregraciously hosted by Barnsley College, and their catering students.  We talked to stall holders, discussing the charitable causes they run in response to different societal challenges, including isolation and loneliness and mental ill-health amongst teenagers.  During the evening the second, annual edition of Vital Signswas launched. This gives lots of detailed insight into the views of residents combinedwith local and national statistics and creates a picture of the state of S Yorkshire.  The priorities for support are: deprivation; housing and homelessness; strong communities and healthy living.  We are pleased that we are in sympathy with this report in trying to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty housing issues.

At the weekend we were invited to the Elsecar Food Festival, where on a glorious October day hundreds of people visited over 50 stalls of local foods and food suppliers.  We tasted and bought our first sample of Barnsley Brew tea, and some delicious gin! The demonstration kitchen, as well as showcasing a celebrity chef also featured the skills of a local Polish restaurant and catering students from Barnsley College.
This was followed next day by a visit to GCHQ in Scarborough where a glimpse of the work undertaken by our security services was explained.

At the end of the week we entertained a group of people from some of the key charities related to homelessness in South Yorkshire, at a relaxed evening at Worsbrough Mill.  We were shown around this working water mill by the new miller and then had a bistro supper in the Miller’s Tea Room.  We used the opportunity to enable some networking and to ask our guests for their responses and suggestions for the Survival Guide which we collated and shared it with SYCF.

We ended the month with a family celebration and a great half term family holiday.

September 2018
Our short holiday ended at the beginning of this month and on our first day back in role we participated in a Royal Visit.  The Princess Royal came to Doncaster to open the new, large and developing logistics centre at the new railhead, Doncaster Iport Rail, Intermodal Rail Freight Facility. This was a relaxed and informative occasion with the Princess asking pertinent questions and engaging in knowledgeable conversation with developers, Local Authority representatives, and employees.  As Patron of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, it was clear that she was not only interested but also well informed.It was good, to not only meet Her Royal Highness, but also to talk with staff who have been involved in the development of the site along with some of those who will be working there. 

The end of that week found us at an open day at one of the Sheffield Mosques.  We took a group of people from our home-town to share in friendly, generous hospitality and talk with people from the Muslim community, take part in a guided tour of the Mosque and observe prayers.  Some of these people had never been in a Mosque before and had little contact with Muslims; we felt this was a great opportunity to build understanding and relationships. 

My good friend Gul Nawaz Hussain QC invited me to attend the awards evening of the Sheffield Sea Cadets. Gul’s son, Sal, is a Marine Cadet with the unit and greeted me with a serious smile, looking immaculate in his uniform.This unit meets twice a week, teaching and caring for 70 plus young people from the area. As well as awarding certificates and prizes I was able to learn of their adventures at various summer camps that had been attended at naval bases around the country.
The dedication of the adult instructors, officers and volunteer parents is invaluable to the strength and growth of the Sea Cadet movement in the City and already plans and dreams are being formulated to extend and adapt the premises that they occupy, to enhance the military and community learning which takes place.

We were invited, along with the Mayor and Mayoress of Barnsley, to visit a monthly Superjam Tea Party, organised in Barnsley by Rotary Clubs. This was set up to encourage and support isolated, older people to come together for tea, music and dancing.  It is very popular with around 120 people taking part each month.

My visit to the CRC organization in Doncaster was highly informative, giving me a real insight into the work of this privatized arm of the Probation Service.
The rehabilitation of offenders is crucial if progress is to be made in rebuilding the lives of people who have broken the law and in reducing our unacceptable prison population.
The individual care package that is prepared for each client is testament to the desire of the CRC to do its utmost to reduce offending rates.

The Sheffield Festival of the Mind is a creative way of engaging people of the City and surrounding area with the research being conducted at The University of Sheffield.  So often the academic institutions can appear remote and sometimes irrelevant to the lives of ‘ordinary ‘ people. This Festival sets out to offer over 40 free activities, events, performances and exhibitions, over 10 days, open to everyone, to celebrate ideas, culture and collaboration.  We were delighted to be invited to the opening reception in The Spiegeltent, a beautiful circus-like tent erected in the city centre.

I also spent time with the CRC arm of Sodexo in Sheffield. As with Doncaster I was amazed at the depth of research and analysis that is carried out not just to help rehabilitate but to try to understand the root causes of offending and  work towards eliminating some of those causes.
Of particular note is the work that is being done to try to reduce the prosecution and imprisonment of women. The effect on marriage, the home, and children is far greater when a woman, rather than a man, is imprisoned.
Some of the work is truly pioneering and many old systems and habits have to be challenged.
Additionally I was able to visit group of offenders who were participating in the ‘payback’ scheme where work in the community is undertaken as part of the sentence for the benefit of the whole the community. It happened to be a glorious sunny day so the outdoor work was made that much more pleasurable.

A formal event was held in Sheffield’s Cutlers Hall for the President of the Sheffield Chamber ofCommerce’s annual dinner; it was particularly pleasing that this year’s President is a friend who also lives in Barnsley!  It was good to hear about the charitable activities of the Chamber as well as its work in promoting business and commerce opportunities, and, of course, to talk with new and old friends. 

I visited Moorland Prison where a high proportion of the prisoners are sex offenders and was shocked to see so many old men. This puzzled me until it was explained that many of these cases were historic and justice was done some years after the offences. Conditions were good but the air of a ‘care home for the aged’ was always in my mind. On some wings the prisoners form small committees to manage their environment. Ideas are presented to the management and if approved  walls can be painted and appropriate murals used to transform blank spaces.
I was asked by one prisoner if I would sign the wing prisoners visitor’s book.

It was a privilege to be invited to the formal appointment and welcome of the new Recorder of Sheffield by the Council of the City, at the Law Courts and to share in a reception.  HH Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, is no stranger to Sheffield, as he spent some years in the City previously; the Lord Mayor, Councillor Majid Majid welcomed the appointment with a warm speech.  HH Judge Jeremy Richardson QC responded with effusive thanks to the many people involved in making his transition from Hull to Sheffield so smooth and welcoming. 

Swinton Service of Remembrance was conducted by the Bishop of Sheffield the Rev Dr Pete Wilcox in the beautiful village church in this former mining community. The service remembered Cpl Thomas Jackson of the 1stBnColdstream Guards who was awarded the VC 100 years ago to the day. He sadly died in combat shortly after his commendation.
Of particular poignancy was the reading out by local people of the names of over 200 men from Swinton who died in WW1. The devastation at the loss of so many from a small community is a thought that is hard to bear.
Wreaths were laid at the village war memorial following the service.

We ended the month with another dinner at home where we welcomed several judges, a QC, the Chair of the S Y Magistrates Bench and friends.  These events are always interesting, informative and fun.  We hope that in extending such hospitality we are also offering support and a sense of collegiality to the legal communities.

It’s hard to think that we are already considering the details of our South Yorkshire Legal Service in April 2019.  We met with the Under Sheriff to confirm the booking of Doncaster Minster and the Mansion House as well as make contact with the caterers.  This year is flying by.

August 2018
August was a much quieter month than the previous 4, so I was able to take a couple of short breaks; one of these to mark our Golden Wedding!  However, the work of the High Sheriff continued.

I was invited to share in the launch of the first Association of Muslim Police in South Yorkshire; this was a positive, and well attended eventand a great step forward in bringing together all the Muslim Officers and Staff.
The Association will, as well as offering support to its members, enable senior management to be able to tap into the rich pool of knowledge and community understanding which will be available.

Later in the month I visited Hatfield prison where I was extremely impressed by the well planned and organised approach to rehabilitating offenders by offering them opportunities to develop skills and productive independence.  One of the highlights of the visit was their market gardening activities, where members of the public are able to purchase high quality home grown vegetables and some soft fruits, through a farm shop enterprise called Thyme Served!  I was able to purchase a bag of their produce – much to the delight of the Sheriffina. 


During the same week I was able visit the National Probation Service in Doncaster where I learned of the challenges and opportunities facing the service in our county.   

The month ended with a visit, with my wife and the Under-Sheriff, to Shiloh, a project in Rotherham, which is working to offer a ‘wrap around’ service to homeless people and those living in hostels and poverty housing.  Such organisations are central to my year.  We spoke with staff and trustees as well as guests of the service, learning about how they address the immediate needs of people for warm showers and toiletries; regular, good quality food and clothing as well as begin to address loneliness, health issues and support through a buddying scheme, courses and a counseling approach.  We offered networking information to link them with other services in our area including contacts with the Muslim Community in Rotherham, and possible funding opportunities.  The role of the High Sheriff in helping such voluntary organisations to network with others, build their capacity and raise the profile of how they contribute vital work in our communities is one of the keys to its continuing impact. 

I am looking forward to attending the ceremony where they will be presented, by the Lord Lieutenant, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. A very well deserved accolade.

July 2018
One of the big events of the Shrieval year took place at the beginning of the month with our summer reception.  We were very happy to combine this with a celebration of our Golden Wedding Anniversary and so the festivities included not only civic dignitaries, members of the judiciary and associated institutions and organisations but long-standing friends and many members of our family.  Through the help and generosity of Barnsley Local Authority, Museums and Heritage Trust we were able to hold the event at the Elsecar Heritage Centre.  Here our guests could explore the site with a guided tour of the industrial village; examine, under expert guidance, the workings of the Newcomen Engine (the oldest of its kind in its original situation in the world) and have a ride on a steam train, through the help of the Elsecar Heritage Railway. Glorious weather meant we could wander the site, meet with friends, or make new ones, and enjoy a good Yorkshire tea, as well as look at wedding photos from 50 years ago!  However this was a party with a purpose and 20 charities and organisations, which are working to help people who are homeless or living in poverty housing, exhibited their services to raise awareness of the challenges homeless people face and some of the services they offer.  I was able to use my welcome speech to highlight their work and add further impetus to my desire to help contribute to the elimination of this stain on our society.  It was a fulfilling and happy occasion for us, and we were grateful for the support of around 200 people. 

Other activities, linked to my Shrieval theme, included a visit to the inspirational Dearne Community Housing initiative.  This small group of people has raised funds to renovate derelict houses and offer rental homes for vulnerable individuals and families.  In the process, they offer young people NVQs in house restoration skills, training 165 people last year.  They recently received recognition in the form of a Duke of York’s Community Award.  It’s humbling to see what time, determination and hard work people are able to offer to those who experience hard times.  

I had a meeting in Rotherham with the Rough Sleeper Initiative where the 4 S Yorkshire local authorities shared information on the services and initiatives they are developing; this is a regular meeting, which I was able to observe.  I  met a colleague from Centrepoint, who is planning a ‘sleep out’, in Barnsley, to raise funds and awareness of rough sleeping and homelessness.  I am hopeful we can respond to their invitation to join in.  I was also able to share Crisis celebrations to mark achievements of many people in overcoming diverse and difficult challenges.  We heard many stories of triumph, including gaining certificates of accreditation and employment; another moving and inspiring occasion.   I met Angela Smith, MP and discussed some of the homelessness, rough sleeping and housing issues in the county and the impact of policies and local practices. 

We attended 2 graduation ceremonies at The University of Sheffield, including the graduation dinner, and were part of the inauguration of Dame Helena Kennedy as Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University.  I was also invited to help present achievement awards to young people at BarnsleySpringwell Academy. Other celebrations included being generously hosted by the Great Yorkshire Show trustees, along with the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire.  Yet another, was a Citizenship Ceremony in Barnsley where I was able to welcome a young friend from Zimbabwe to our town, county and country; a special day!   We joined a service to mark the Huskar Disaster when 26 children died in a mining disaster in Silkstone, Barnsley, in 1838. The local community had organised many events and activities to remind people of the tragedy as well as recognize that child labour is still practised in some parts of the world. 

On the ‘legal’ front, I was able to attend the Criminal Justice Board, at the invitation of the S Yorks Police and Crime Commissioner, to gain insight into the inter-disciplinary collaboration across the county.  We hosted several judges, partners and friends at Cannon Hall where we were treated to a curated tour of their Dutch Masters exhibition, followed by supper in the Hall.  We also hosted a judge and his family, to hear the inspirational Barnsley Youth Choir, ranked 4th in the world, sing with the Fellows of the National Youth Choir.  Another memorable occasion in a busy month! 

High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Barry Eldred, with the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid at the Summer Reception.

High Sheriff with his wife Dr Janine Eldred at their Summer Reception at Elsecar Heritage Centre, Barnsley.

June 2018
The work of a High Sheriff seems to embrace such a diversity of  roles - which offers both challenges and opportunities.  The challenges are around making decisions about which invitations and activities to accept, especially when there are diary clashes; the opportunities lie in the ability of a High Sheriff to network, influence and make a difference, especially in the Voluntary and Community Sector.  This month has captured diversity in all its richness. 

We attended the South Yorkshire Police Memorial at Sheffield Cathedral; an exceptionally moving experience, when we met the relatives of those who had lost their lives in the course of duty as well as those who died whilst in service.  Another memorable Cathedral service was the funeral of Brendan Ingle, the Boxer who contributed such a lot to the lives of many young people in Sheffield. The huge number of mourners who wanted to pay tribute to this modest, hard-working but successful man demonstrated the impact he had, not just in our area, but across the UK and beyond.  On the same day, we celebrated the Civic Service for the Mayor of Barnsley at the Parish Church of St Mary in Barnsley, where several local schools made moving and thoughtful contributions. 

The Cathedral was also the venue for an audit of the work of churches and other faith organisations in Sheffield.
This gave us insight into the contribution which faith organisationsmake to the lives of many people; it would be great to see such data extended to the whole of our county. June was the month of Ramadan and we were invited to Iftar (breaking the fast) at the Madina Mosque in Sheffield; people of many faiths - and none- were taken on a guided tour of the mosque and shared the evening meal to mark the end of the day’s fasting.  I was invited to speak to the diverse group of people, acknowledging that we have more in common than divides us by race, culture or faith. 

A generous invitation from the University of Sheffield, to hear Helen Sharman, Britain’s first woman in space, talk about her career and work, was inspiring, informative, and fun and we were able to join her and other colleagues at dinner.  It is a real privilege to receive such invitations, be stimulated and filled with awe.  Another invitation came from Experience Barnsley where celebrations were held to mark the 5th birthday of this wonderful museum, in the heart of the Barnsley Town Hall; yet another was received from the Bradfield Festival.  We attended the first night concert and were delighted that the choral group, Albion, marked its return at the Festival. This was a real treat, in the historic setting of St Nicholas Church, on a beautiful summer’s evening. 

We invited members of the judiciary and associated organisations to dinner at home and enjoyed stimulating, interesting conversations as well as lovely food (prepared by a local French chef).  We also hosted a local judge and his family to a buffet supper, prior to hearing the Barnsley Youth Choir (ranked 4th in the world) with members of the National Youth Choir Fellowship. We were all ‘blown away’ by their performances, demonstrated by several standing ovations.
I was able to conduct another Citizenship Ceremony in Sheffield and welcome more people to South Yorkshire as well as visit HMP Doncaster Marsh Gate and join MP Stephanie Peacock for a cup of coffee.  I am keen to continue to search into the issues surrounding our growing problem of homelessness, rough sleeping and poverty housing and discussed this with staff in the prison as well as with the MP. 

I visited five VCS organisations with an interest in homelessness and housing and joined Voluntary Action Rotherham on their ‘Walk of Witness’ through the town.  It was yet another hot and sunny day but we were well watered and nourished with cake and the walk felt festive and fun.  We were invited to wear sashes which declared ‘Get thi’ sen volunteering’. 

This is not a bad mantra for a High Sheriff to share.

May 2018
Time flies when you’re having fun!  This adage certainly applies to this role; it is hard to believe that I am already into the third month of my year of office.  May has been a busy month, in spite of two public holidays and honouring an annual commitment to the Sheffield Chamber Music 9 day Festival.  We hosted members of the judiciary on four evenings of the Festival, to supper and concerts of world- class music which we are privileged to hear in South Yorkshire.  I have held conversations with individuals, projects and programmes working to support homeless people, including: The Archer Project and Roundabout, Sheffield; The South Yorkshire Community Foundation; St Ledger homes Doncaster, Crisis, Shelter, and Nomad, all of whom embrace the idea of a resource offering information of support for homeless people. The discussion is whether this is in booklet form or as an app.   We were able to support the national, Sheffield-based charity event for Support Dogs; the impact made by highly trained and sensitive dogs, to help people with diverse disabilities, is impressive. 

In this season of mayor-making, I attended the election and celebration of the new Barnsley Mayor, Cllr Steve Green and joined the Procession and Civic Service to mark the election of the Rotherham Mayor, Cllr Alan Buckley. I met the new Lord Mayor of Sheffield Cllr Magid Magid and civic dignitaries along with the Mayor of Doncaster at the Long Service and Good Conduct Awards Celebration, for Fire and Rescue staff, at the Sheffield City Hall.  I joined the annual Cutlers Feast at the Cutlers Hall, marking the long tradition of the contribution of the steel industry to the city. 

Jan and I were generously entertained by HH Judge James Goss at the Judges Lodgings, meeting the newly appointed Recorder for Sheffield Courts, HH Judge Jeremy Richardson QC,along with other Sheffield judges.  I was able to sit with HH Judge Goss, in court, on two successive days.  I found this experience very helpful in gaining an insight into the work, and challenges, of the judiciary, in very difficult cases.  Staff were extremely welcoming and patient in explaining their roles and work; I will certainly take up the opportunity again. We hosted 8 guests at home towards the end of the month; we can certainly help people to link up around common interests and activities.  I took part in the Court’s training week, by talking, in full court dress, with staff about the role of the High Sheriff; it was good to answer questions and tell stories about my activities as well as those of my predecessors.

We spent an interesting morning at Doncaster Magistrates Court, observing and listening to the regional finals of Mock Trials, for schools in Yorkshire.  Volunteers from the Magistracy organise these competitions to help students understand how law courts operate but, more importantly, develop critical thinking, reasoning and the confidence to play the various roles involved in trials.  We were impressed by the commitment of all the organisers, in schools and in the Magistracy, but also the young people involved; they will have developed key learning and life skills.
I met with other High Sheriffs and the Under Sheriff in York to plan the NE Legal Service in the autumn. 

I officiated at another two Citizenship ceremonies; it is interesting to learn about the reasons people want to become British Citizens.  For some, it is sealing a commitment to the country after living here for many years, whilst for others, it marks the end of a difficult journey of asylum-seeking and refugee status to create a new home and commit to a new citizenship.  Such ceremonies are often very moving.

Jan and I were generously entertained at the Cast in Doncaster to mark the rebranding of the Under Sheriff’s law firm, now known as Keebles. After drinks and a light supper we thoroughly enjoyed a very provocative and humorously irreverent performance of A Mid-summer Night’s Dream.

The busy schedule of this role, can be demanding, in terms of planning and prioritising, but presents opportunities to support and advocate on behalf of public and voluntary organisations working to promote and sustain justice and peace in our communities. 

April 2018
My first month as High Sheriff of South Yorkshire has already passed, with a wide range of activities, reflecting the diversity of the role.  My declaration was a happy occasion with family and friends including a warm welcome from Mr Justice Stephen Mayles, members of the judiciary, and support from my Chaplain Rev Peter Clark. I promised to carry out the role to the best of my ability and also to advocate for more effective services for people who are homeless.  This theme arises, not only from the obvious increase in homelessness in our country but also from the voluntary work in which I have been involved for almost 16 years, with the international charity, Habitat for Humanity.  I have already visited 15 organisations in our county this month, including the Probation Service, Crisis, Roundabout, The Police and Crime Commissioner, and the Chief Constable along with presenting certificates at a Citizenship Ceremony. I have received a warm and open welcome from everyone.  The response, from all the organisations, to my idea to create a ‘Survival Guide’, for homeless people, has been very encouraging.  I shall continue to consult with key homelessness organisations, as well as public services, over the coming weeks before deciding with them, on the usefulness of such a guide. 

We hosted judges and friends to dinner towards the end of the month and have planned activities and events across the year.  We have also been hosted by others, including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, when we celebrated the appointment of Gul Nawaz Hussain as the first Asian QC from Sheffield, This was a great acknowledgement of a man, the son of an immigrant trade-unionist, who learned the importance of advocacy, working alongside his father in the steel industry.
We attended Sheffield Cathedral on the occasion of the visit by the Duke of York who presented The Duke of York Community Initiative certificates to Yorkshire Charities and organisations.  This was an interesting and inspiring occasion, recognising the dedication and commitment of many voluntary and community groups and individuals from across Yorkshire.

My diary continues to fill daily and I am endeavouring to satisfy as many requests as possible, especially those that have a relationship with homelessness.


January - March 2018
The final three months in office as High Sheriff have included a widerange of events and meetings.

Clearly the major event was my Legal Service which was held on 18 March. We woke up to a heavy overnight snowfall and wondered not only how guests would make it to the Cutlers’ Hall but also how many? Well the determination of my guests (a large number of whom come from Yorkshire) showed through. The apologies were very understandable. Fortunately, the vast majority of guests were able to make, it although I am left in awe at how some people fought their way to the venue.

The Legal Service took a very different form from previous years; it was a multi-faith event. My understanding is that this is only the second time in the whole of Shrieval history, which spans over a 1000 years, that the Legal Service has been a multi-faith event.

Five faiths symbolically took part: Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Moslem and Sikh, representing all the major faiths in South Yorkshire. There were readings from representatives of each of these faiths. These readings made all those present aware of the remarkable similarity in the morals and values of each of the religions. In addition there were readings by my older daughter, Jen Ingram and The Hon. Mr Justice Goose. Together all present reflected on Justice and Peace and what they mean in our complex, multi-faith communities. The event was highly successful and seemed to be especially valued by the ethnic minorities for its inclusivity.

There was a collection for my sponsored charity Whirlow Hall Farm Trust which raised over £10,900 including Gift Aid. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously.

Prior to the lunch which followed the Legal Service, I presented my High Sheriff’s awards to three excellent organisations, all of which are exemplars of community and inclusivity.

Crosspool Forum: highly active community group open to community members from the age of 16. It aims to improve the life of residents through appropriate contacts, consultation and action.

Together Women Project: moves women out of crime into positive futures, working with them in safe, women-only spaces, building resilience and developing strengths which enable them to move away from damaging lifestyles.

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust: community development programme which works across Rotherham, in deprived areas with different communities and age groups. It delivers under three main themes – education; health and wellbeing; sport and community development.

All these organisations highly deserved their Awards.

During the three month period I also undertook 3 Citizenship Ceremonies. Over my year in office I took part in ceremonies at which people from over 40 countries around the globe became UK citizens.

I attended a range of voluntary and charity events which included:

•    the annual awards ceremony of the remarkable Inspiring Youth. What a great organisation which does such excellent work with young students;

•    an excellent Sea Cadets parade;

•    one special visit to Dearne Valley Community Fire Station to see a presentation put on by young adults participating in The Princes’ Trust programme, when Prince Charles visited. The Trust does excellent work in helping young people get into jobs, education and training;

•    the police control room at Sheffield United v Leeds United. I was hugely impressed by the thoroughness of the approach to policing relatively large (and potentially difficult) sporting fixtures;

•    a forum to consider the best approaches to tackling the increasing problem of youngsters who have been excluded from attending school.

I also sat in a number of different Courts, including the Family Court, and witnessed how hard the judges work to ensure both fairness during the course of the hearing and justice as the outcome.

October - December 2017
There is a consistent theme to my year serving as High Sheriff; time just seems to fly by.  This update of activities during my year of office will therefore cover the three months October to December 2017.

The first week of October saw a flurry of activity.  It started with a visit by HRH The Duke of Kent to Rotherham Hospital, where he officially opened the new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre.

The following day saw the installation of the new Master Cutler Ken Cooke.  The next day, the Letters Patent Ceremony took place.  This brief ceremony, which has taken place for centuries, grants the Court the authority to conduct its business for the forthcoming Court year. 

Letters Patent ceremony

On the same day, my sponsored charity Whirlow Hall Farm Trust started, and completed, its wine harvest in record time.  I visited the farm and had the privilege of meeting some great children from Manor Lodge School.  There were two groups on an overnight residential stay – and they had clearly never previously met (nor heard of) a High Sheriff!

Then on the last day of the week The Princess Royal visited Doncaster where she officially opened the new Citizens’ Advice Bureau, which I should add is undertaking some excellent work.

Other notable visits and events during October included:

•    Northern Racing College
•    Madina Masjid Mosque
•    Service of Celebration at Sheffield Cathedral, to celebrate the work of the Police and Fire Service in South Yorkshire.

A busy October ended with HRH The Duke of Gloucester visiting the new headquarters of Westfield Health.  He was shown around before being briefed on the work undertaken by Westfield Health Charitable Trust in association with local and national charities.

My activities in November were similarly varied but very different from those in October, and included:

•    A visit to The Crucible Theatre to see a performance specially commissioned for young schoolchildren to introduce them to musical instruments
•    Graduation at Barnsley College
•    Armistice Day Service at the Mansion House Doncaster
•    Service of Remembrance at the Sheffield Cenotaph
•    Sheffield Hallam University degree ceremonies at the Sheffield City Hall including the award of an honorary doctorate to Dorothy Fleming for her tireless work to combat prejudice and advance multifaith/multicultural understanding.
•    Court award to an individual who showed great courage leading to the apprehension and conviction of two criminals
•    Voluntary Action Rotherham Community Achievements Awards Dinner; another reminder, if one were needed, of some of the excellent voluntary work selflessly carried out in South Yorkshire by some remarkable people
•    Visit to St Luke’s Hospice.  What a fantastic facility – but it is the extraordinary people who work there, some paid and many volunteers, who make this hospice so warm, loving and caring – and very special.

And then into December, which started with the festival of light at St Luke’s, a moving event with everyone present taking their own personal experience from the occasion.

I spent a morning at the Lifewise Centre at Hellaby and saw groups of young people, being provided with excellent preparation for life on some of the more challenging topics which confront them, such as drugs, bullying, cyber bullying, grooming etc.

The following day I visited Endeavour, a charity which works hands-on with disadvantaged, disaffected and forgotten young people.  It is clearly doing some exceptional work, but equally it is clearly in need of funds.  When I visited, some trainee medics were coming to the end of a brief but very successful period of secondment, which demonstrates some imaginative and constructive thinking.

Shortly afterwards I attended a Prince’s Trust Graduation in Barnsley, where I had the privilege of seeing (and meeting) some very gritty and determined young adults, each of whom had their own personal issues.  These individuals, with the support of The Prince’s Trust, had successfully completed a challenging three month course which seeks to help them build their self-esteem and self-worth (from a very low ebb) and helps to prepare them for job interviews and employment.They really impressed with how they had maturely progressed through the demanding course and how they made their excellent presentations in the very formal surroundings of Barnsley Council Chamber.

My official duties continued until Christmas Day.  My two daughters, Jen and Ali, had come home for Christmas and wanted to spend some of Christmas Day with other people in the community before we had our Christmas dinner – which we always have in the evening.

Sheffield Christmas Dinner put on a Christmas feast for foster care leavers aged 18-25 (plus their children).  This is the first time the event has been held in Sheffield.  Jen and Ali spent the day preparing Christmas dinners for the guests whilst I greeted them.  The event was great fun and it is hoped that it will be even bigger next year.

For completeness I should add that throughout this three month period I also attended  Citizenship Ceremonies, numerous carol services and met a number of directors of charities, voluntary and public sector organisations.

August-September 2017
I was told that the High Sheriff’s duties would be lighter over the summer months and, whilst this is true, it still seems to have been quite a busy period.

The first day of August is Yorkshire Dayand in South Yorkshire the Lord Mayor of Sheffield hosted the celebrations. This included a procession from Sheffield Town Hall to the Cathedral, where there was a delightful service. We returned to the Town Hall during a very heavy downpour – which made it a real Yorkshire Day! There was then a traditional Yorkshire lunch and speeches.

The Youdan Trophy commemorates the oldest football tournament in the world, the Football Challenge Cup (which precedes the FA Cup by four years). This year the tournament was held in Sheffield in the first week of August. Junior teams from some of the top clubs in the world participate and this year it was again an outstanding and highly successful event.

The following week I was invited to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Air Support Unit at Nostell, near Wakefield. This provides a fantastic service and is a great facility, funded by charitable donations.

Other events and activities in August and September included:

•  commemorative paving stone to honour Sgt Loosemore who received a Victoria Cross on 8 August 2017. The stone was laid on the 100th anniversary of the action for which his VC was awarded
•  visits to magistrates’ courts in Barnsley, Doncaster and Sheffield
•  presenting an award, under the High Sheriff Scheme, to a very brave young man
•  attending the Fire Service recruits’ graduation
•  official opening of Sheffield Age UK’s new offices

I also attended the installation of the new Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox. Sheffield cathedral was full, with representatives from across the city and the wider diocese. The service began with a colourful procession and then, following an ancient tradition, Rt Revd Wilcox approached the West End of the cathedral and knocked three times on the main door. He was welcomed inside by young people from the city and the Dean of Sheffield, the Very Revd Peter Bradley.

At the end of September the Hon Recorder for Sheffield, Judge Goose, moved on to much greater heights on becoming a High Court Judge. We thank him for his great contribution to the judicial system whilst working in Sheffield and, as well as congratulating him on his new appointment, we also wish him well for the future.

June-July 2017
I had intended to write a monthly update of my activities as High Sheriff – but after a busy June, July flew byand so here I am writing about what happened over this two month period.

The theme of my year in office is ‘inclusivity’ and in particular focusing on ensuring that children and young people in the age range 5 to 18 years feel part of, and involved with, society at large. As a result I have spent time with a number of organisations and charities which focus on youth engagement. This has included visits to and/or meetings with Inspiring Youth, Club Doncaster Foundation and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust. Allare excellent organisations carrying out essential and valuable work in this crucial and challenging field.

Whirlow Hall Farm Trust is my nominated charity. It provides a range of programmes for children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable and/or challenged. It is a working farm which, every year, provides in excess of 10,000 student days of learning experience in a farm environment. Some of its programmes are specifically for children who have been excluded from school, with the objective of supporting them - by helping them with the development of skills so that they can be included again.

One of the highlights during this period was an invitation by Inner Temple to Temple Church, London, which is the church of Inner and Middle Temple, two of England’s four ancient societies of lawyers (the Inns of Court). It was built by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century, and was closely linked to the Magna Carta. Anne and I went to Evensong which was followed by dinner at Inner Temple Hall.
I returned to South Yorkshire the following day, which was the day of the General Election. I observed the votes being counted in both Barnsley and Sheffield. I then declared the results for the constituencies of Sheffield Hallam, and Penistone and Stocksbridge in my capacity as Returning Officer.

I have been out and about throughout South Yorkshire in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield - meeting a combination of chief executives, mayors, council leaders and religious leaders. Anne and I attended the Mayor’s Civic Ceremony in Barnsley and the Annual Civic Service and Parade in Doncaster; a few days later we were both at York Minster for the Consecration of the Very Reverend Peter Wilcox, the new Bishop of Sheffield. We were blessed with good weather for Armed Forces Day in Rotherham, and fortunately we had chosen an indoor venue for my Summer Reception, the magnificent Factory 2050 on the Advanced Manufacturing Campus.

I have continued to welcome new citizens to the county in the delightful Citizenship Ceremonies and have also attended degree ceremonies at the University of Sheffield. This included being present when the first Briton in Space, Dr Helen Sharman, was awarded an honorary degree;she proceeded to make an inspiring and motivational speech to the other graduates. We also welcomed The Duke of York when he visited the very forward-looking AESSEAL factory in Rotherham.

Towards the end of July we visited Clifford House, which is a new addition to St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield. It officially opens in September and is a superb facility which will be open to anyone who has an illness with no cure.

As I write this in early August, activity does not appear to have abated significantly, even though it is summer holiday time. More about this will follow soon.

My first few weeks in office as High Sheriff of South Yorkshire

I made my Declaration to become High Sheriff of South Yorkshire at the Sheffield Combined Court Centre on 6 April 2017. The ceremony was presided over by The Hon Mr Justice Males and The Honorary Recorder for Sheffield HH Judge Goose QC. In my speech at the Declaration I confirmed my intention to make “Inclusivity” the theme for my year of office.

I have been rather busy in the two months of April and May. My activities have included:

10 April My first official duty as High Sheriff was to be presented to HRH The Duke of York on his visit to The Cutlers’ Hall prior to officially opening AMRC Factory 2050. This is now formally known as “The Duke of York Factory 2050”.

11 April My first citizenship ceremony. A thoroughly enjoyable event where I welcomed, and officiated over the swearing in of, 15 new British citizens from a range of European, African and Asian countries.I attended my second citizenship ceremony a few weeks later on 9 May which was equally rewarding and involved 17 new British citizens from a similarly diverse spread of countries.

27 April I was privileged to be able to observe the truly impressive performance of the Ceremony of ‘Sounding Retreat’ at Minden House in Pontefract performed by The Band and Bugles of the Rifles and the Minden Bugles and Drums of E Company of the Army Cadet Force and finally the Veterans of the Light Division and Rifles Buglers’ Association. 

2 May In the morning I attended Court with The Hon Mr Justice Goss, at the start of a rape trial. Clearly a challenging, difficult and emotionally testing time for all involved – not least the jury.

Later that day I attended a completely different kind of event: I had been invited by The Lord Mayor of Sheffield and the Leader of Sheffield City Council to attend a reception at Sheffield Town Hall to celebrate the (long overdue) promotion of Sheffield United to the Championship. Much celebration took place!

6 May A service at Sheffield Cathedral held to commemorate police officers who had lost their lives whilst serving in the South Yorkshire Police Force. I found this to be a most moving event, which underlined the fundamental importance of the police in ensuring the normality of our every day lives and the courage that this involves.

12 May Michelle Nicholson founded Key Changes a charity which supports women in the criminal justice system. This was a big day for her as she was launching her book “Without a Voice”. I have yet to read this but I understand that it is the story about how she was framed for the murder of her father and her subsequent fight for justice.

I have in my first few weeks of office also been involved in a range of other events. I have found out about the excellent support for charitable and public purposes provided by the Sheffield Town Trustees, a charity founded in 1297. I have also had meetings with the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield, John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and Stephen Watson, the Chief Constable for South Yorkshire Police. In additionAnne and I had the privilege of attending a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, as well as a lunch immediately following the election of Anne Murphy as the new Lord Mayor of Sheffield. In addition we were delighted to be guests of The Master Cutler at The Cutlers’ Feast.

Finally,following an excellent, thought-provoking guest lecture by the very highly respected economist Martin Wolf, associate editor and chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, I attended a dinner hosted by Sir Keith Burnett, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.

Click here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Summer 2018 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

Click here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2017 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

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

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

Click here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2014 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

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

Click here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2013 edition of The High Sheriff magazine 

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


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