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31stMay 2018 – Royal Garden Party

May ended on a high note with a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.  It was very well organised and the weather pleasant.  In the photo of Her Majesty it appears that she is sharing a joke with Prince William – certainly looking healthy and relaxed.

In the evening visited The Old Bailey, hosted by the Sheriffs of the City of London.  Very interesting and also offered to sit with a judge in criminal court 1.

12th May 2018 – Inauguration of Swansea’s Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor’s Inaugurationat the Guildhall in Swansea was a very pleasant experience.  I only had a couple of months with the outgoing Lord Mayor, Philip Downing.  Philip and his wife, Lilian, were very friendly and supportive.  So, we now have a new Lord Mayor, David Phillips, and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter Black. 

12th May 2018 – The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army’scelebration concert of 75 years of music at the Morriston Citadel was held at Swansea's "cathedral church", St. David's, and had representatives of The Salvation Army from the four quarters of the UK: Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The Belfast Temple Band together with the massed choir was truly inspirational. I simply had to see and hear them again - so I attended the following day’s meeting in Morriston. 

11th May 2018 – Cym Brombil Ladies WI

Cym Brombil Ladies WIonly formed last year and they pulled off an impressive exhibition at Margam Abbey of “Women in World War 1”.  It charts the effect of the conflict on the women of Port Talbot with local history, personal stories and pictures on display.  Worth seeing; the exhibition remains open until November

10th May 2018 – Swansea’s Lord Mayor’s Summer Ball

Lord Mayor’s Summer Honours Ballat the Brangwyn Hall was a special occasion where the great and good of Swansea were recognised and over £4,000 raised for the Lord Mayor’s charity.  You may recognise the person sitting (front left) is Wynne Evans, the Welsh tenor (‘go compare’ TV adverts) he was a very entertaining

6th May 2018 – VE Day Ceremony
I joined the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Mayor of Swansea to lay a wreath at “The Gun” in Swansea (see photo below). This is a monument to the Air Defence of Swansea and dedicated to the heroic people of the City who lost their lives or who were wounded on those 3 fateful nights in February 1941 during WW2 in the Blitz.

During this blitz 30,000 incendiary and 800 high-explosive bombs rained down resulting in 230 Swansea residents dead and more than 400 injured. There was also more than 850 properties destroyed and 11,000 buildings damaged; Swansea was flattened.

The bright sunny weather yesterday brought a large crowd out to pay their respects; it was good to see so many young people take part in a march past.

Weekend of 21st April 2018 – RAF Centenary Celebrations
Another highlight in the month has been the RAF Centenary Celebrationsin Swansea.  There was the raising of the RAF ensign; a marvellous evening concert in the Brangwyn Hall; and a march-through of what I think was the largest military parade in Wales.  It was a mixture of joyfulness and poignancy given the history of the last 100 years.

I even had the opportunityto inspect the guard on parade!  I failed to appreciate how difficult that would be - Her Majesty makes it look very simple.  It has to be said that the British really does do these things very well!

17th April 2018 – Citizenship Ceremony

I have now attended my first Citizenship Ceremony.  Swansea conducts this very well It is always a pleasant event.  In my talk about the history of the High Sheriff I told them the story of the 'Battle of Lincoln" in 1217 where the first reputed lady High Sheriff, Dame Nicola de le Haye, in her mid-60's successfully defended a siege of over 3 months by French invaders. 

I suggested to the attentive new citizens that had it not been for that High Sheriff we would all be French today (I then had to quickly recover and say that there was nothing wrong with being French - we love the French - it's just not what they had signed up for today).

27th March 2018

High Sheriff’s Declaration Ceremony at Margam Abbey
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for West Glamorgan, Byron Lewis KStJ and Henry Gilbert, High Sheriff for West Glamorgan.
My ‘D-day’ (Declaration day) was a marvellous occasion – not even a drop of rain!  Although it’s a little strange wearing court dress; I think I can get use to wearing lace and stockings!  
The ceremony was well attended with nearly 150 guests.  My declaration was made at Margam Abbey which was founded in 1147 and later restored by the Talbot family in the mid-nineteenth century.  Interestingly, within the Abbey there are good examples of ‘Mumbles Marble’ which was quarried not far from where I live today in Mumbles. The Abbey’s fine classic features gave the occasion the gravitas that it deserved.

My declaration was taken by His Honour, Sir Wyn Williams, President of the Welsh Tribunals;and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, Byron Lewis, as Keeper of the Rolls, read the Warrant of Appointment.  The declaration itself is the approved version by the Privy Council and, frankly, not the easiest flow of words to read.  Although there are only two sentences, the first is 342 words (demands great breath control!).
There was some pomp with fanfares from Herald Trumpeters and majestic organ playing by the Reverend Cannon William Hanford.  The declaration was concluded with a children’s choir from Oystermouth Primary School in Mumbles – Lyn, my wife, retired as a teacher from Oystermouth and my daughter, Ella, currently works there supporting children with special education needs.  Therefore, the children’s involvement had a special meaning.
After the formal declaration we all retired to the Orangery in Margam for ‘High Tea’.  This is alisted Grade I structure and generally regarded as one of the finest classical buildings in Wales.  Built in 1790 it was, as the name implies, intended to house citrus trees.  Now it is one of the grandest venues in the County and thereby a perfect setting for a High Sheriff’s Tea reception!
So, my first day as High Sheriff has gone very well.  Because of the way Easter falls this year and next, I have slightly longer than a year – 55 weeks to be exact – only 384 days to go!

The Declaration at Margam Abbey                           Afternoon Tea at Margam Orangery

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

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

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


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