Gwent News 2019-2020

Declaration Ceremony, Sessions House, Usk

High Sheriff of Gwent, 2019-2020, Dame Claire Clancy DCB DL

The new High Sheriff of Gwent, Dame Claire Clancy, began her year in office with a formal
Declaration Ceremony at the Sessions House in Usk, continuing a tradition which stretches
back for more than 1,000 years. Claire takes over from Sharon Linnard who served as High
Sheriff of Gwent for the last year. The ceremony was a short, legal occasion during which
Claire made a statutory Declaration of Office before a Justice of the Peace. In front of over
90 invited guests, she also made her own promise for her year as High Sheriff, pledging to
listen and learn from the work of all those she encounters and to nurture and encourage
them in order to support the work of those who help make Gwent a caring, safe and
inclusive place to live.

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political royal appointment for a single
year. It is the oldest secular office in the country, dating back to the times of Ethelred the
Unready and King Canute. The duties associated with the role have evolved over time and
involve playing an active role promoting the interests of criminal justice agencies and
voluntary organizations that work to prevent crime, promote community safety and offer
support and development to young people and vulnerable adults. It is a mix of ceremonial,
charitable and community functions. The role is voluntary, unfunded and non-political.

Gwent is fortunate in having an established Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund. The
Fund aims to provide a safer and better quality of life for the people of Gwent by
supporting community-based initiatives which mentor and inspire young people in order to
help reduce crime and enhance community safety. Current, past and future High Sheriffs
steer the Fund’s Panel, working alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent
and the Community Foundation in Wales, who manage the Fund. Recently, the annual
grant-making event, ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ was held, and £75,000 was awarded from
the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund to a diverse range of organizations from right
across Gwent. During her year, Claire will be visiting all the projects supported by the
Fund. Already, in her links with these projects, she has been hugely impressed by the
unsung heroes within the small charity and voluntary groups who give so freely of their
time, energy and resources. Speaking at her Declaration Ceremony, Claire said: “It’s usual
for each High Sheriff to choose their own special focus for the time they spend in Office. I
want to celebrate and recognize the achievements of people who give so much to their
communities and offer crucial support to young people and vulnerable adults. It is no
exaggeration to say that these individuals make our world a better place and we should all
be profoundly grateful to them.”

Claire was born in Essex in 1958 and moved to Wales in the 1980s. She was appointed Dame
Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for public service
in Wales and is a Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent. Claire spent her career in public service and
was Chief Executive and Clerk to the National Assembly for Wales for ten years until 2017
when she retired. Before joining the Assembly, Claire was Chief Executive of Companies
House and Registrar of Companies – the first woman to hold this position in over 150 years.
Claire also spent time on the tiny island of St Helena when her late husband, Mike, was
Chief Secretary and later Governor; here she did some teaching and other voluntary work.

Notes for editors
The ceremony took place on Thursday 28 March 2019. For further information or an
interview, please contact:
Dame Claire Clancy DCB DL
01495 785051
07538 216624
Further information can also be found at: