High Sheriffs Awards
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
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
followed next day by a visit to GCHQ in Scarborough where a glimpse of
the work undertaken by our security services was explained.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Some of the work is truly pioneering and many old systems and habits have to be challenged.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Wreaths were laid at the village war memorial following the service.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
The Cathedral was also the venue for an audit of the work of churches and other faith organisations in Sheffield.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
All these organisations highly deserved their Awards.
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.
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
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!
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
• 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
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
• 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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’
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
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Summer 2018 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2017 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2015 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Summer
2015 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2014 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Summer
2014 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Winter 2013 edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the South Yorkshire News published in the Summer
2013 edition of The High Sheriff magazine