High Sheriffs Awards
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 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