Leicestershire 2018/2019 County News

12 April 2019 – High Sheriff’s Handover Ceremony, The Grand Hall, St Martin’s House, Leicester
It was hard to believe that it was a year since taking office!  The same room, with many of the same people, was a fitting way to acknowledge the role that I have played in the county for the past year.  I gave a brief account of some of the activities during my fascinating year. A huge honour to have been asked to perform this role, and for me to, hopefully, be able to give something back to a County I have lived in all my life and love very much. I have had a year of amazing memories and new friends. I thank all of those who have given me so much support.
Mr Tim Hercock will now take on the position of High Sheriff of Leicestershire for a year and I wish him every success in the year to come.

Photo credit: Diana Thompson

10 April 2019 – Leicester Prison, Leicester
I have looked at this Victorian-era prison in awe since I was a child, and today I found myself visiting it! It has changed very little since it was built and the facilities are very cramped.  I attended the visit with my Chaplain, Revd Ashby of Melton Mowbray, and were welcomed by the Governor Jim Donaldson who I was so grateful to for giving us so much of his precious time explaining the challenges of running an old prison like this. Simon Bland brings music and arts to the prisoners and he showed us various areas of the prison and gave us the opportunity to meet various inmates.

Photo credit: Leicester Mercury

9th April 2019 – Melton Mowbray Police Headquarters, Melton Mowbray
I was really grateful to Inspector Siobhan Gorman for inviting me to the police headquarters in Melton. We had very interesting talks about the problems of rural policing.

Photo credit: Diana Thompson

8th April 2019 – Gartree Prison, Market Harborough
This visit to a bespoke-built local prison was eye-opening.  The Equality & Community Engagement Coordinator gave me a tour of the building, pointing out the problems, etc, which face both prisoners and prison officers.  It was good to see the workshops for the prisoners. Ali Barker, the Governor, was kind enough to meet me and we had a very interesting talk about the problems being faced and her staff suffering attacks.

Photo credit: Justice.gov.uk

4th April 2019 – High Sheriff Awards & Commendation Ceremony, Leicester Crown Court, Leicester
These Awards were issued to those involved in the tragic explosion and fire in Leicester.  The judge who presided over the hearing of the case, Mr Justice Holgate, was so moved by the actions of the emergency services, and of local people, that he recommended Commendations for their bravery in the face of the disaster, particularly as the ensuing fire spread rapidly and it was not known whether there would be further explosions.  This was above and beyond normal expectations and, in CCTV footage capturing the event, a man is shown running towardthe blast in order to offer help and assistance.
I was extremely honoured to present the awards and to be able to host tea and thank all those involved with their families in the Judges dining room afterwards.

Photo credit: SWNS.com on LeicestershireLive

2nd April 2019 – East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit
Following on from the extremely interesting talk given by Professor Rutty at the Magistrates’ Association: Leicestershire & Rutland Branch AGM in October 2018, Professor Rutty introduced us to his team at Leicester and gave us a personal talk and tour of the work they are involved in. They are doing an amazing job under quite cramped facilities!

CT image of a Skull – Photo credit: University of Leicester

1st April 2019 – East Midlands Airport
This tour of the airport gave a fascinating insight into the running of a large organisation, with many diverse and separate departments – both by function and location.  The trip to the air traffic control tower was extremely interesting watching the planes take off and land. All the staff were so informative and enthusiastic about their varying roles. I had no idea how much cargo is moved at night at this airport!

Photo credit: Diana Thompson

25 March 2019 – Magistrates’ Court, Leicester
The Bench Chairman for Leicestershire & Rutland, Suzi Felstead, showed me around the building and explained the workings of the court.  We viewed a number of cases, one quite harrowing one, and I saw at first hand the professional and caring attitude of the Magistrates who give so much of their time.

Photo credit: Leicester Mercury

22nd March 2019 – SEND Championships, Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sports, Dan Maskell Tennis Centre, Loughborough University, Loughborough
This uplifting event began with short talks by Holly Arnold, Nathan McGuire and Hannah Cockcroft which I am sure gave huge encouragement to all those children taking part. I was honoured to present the “Spirit of the Gam1es” awards which emphasise determination, honesty, passion, respect, self-belief and team work.

Photo credit: Diana Thompson

20th March 2019 – Rainbows Charity Luncheon, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, Leicester
This luncheon was held to raise funds for the Rainbows Charity, the East Midlands only hospice for children and young people.  Rainbows is a place where life-limited children and their families can find care and support.  Their incredible team of people help relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, care for children at the end of their life and support parents and siblings through their bereavement.

18th March 2019 – Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Stanford Hall, Loughborough
Group Captain Teresa Griffiths and RSM WO2 Andy Barthram gave us a tour of Stanford Hall the DMRC. The work that is being undertaken there is quite remarkable with phenomenal facilities.  The care and support which is given to our injured servicemen and women is second-to-none in this is a beautiful house and park.

Photo credit: The Independent

15th March 2019 – Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, Birstall, Leicester
This annual event is designed to make people more aware of the work undertaken by the Fire & Rescue Service. We were presented with an overview and various statistics, before viewing a demonstration of a tactical response vehicle, the FATAL 4 vehicle and the aerial ladder platform.  I donned the heavy, but essential, personal protective equipment which each fire-fighter wears and was astounded that personnel are able to move quickly and effectively under so much weight and in such restrictive apparel.  I was, once again, extremely proud of our emergency services and the work that they carry out.

Photo credit: Diana Thompson

14th March 2019 – Spring Conference of the Leicester & Rutland Branch of the Magistrates’ Association, Council Chamber, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester
The speaker at this event was Mr Peter Dawson, Director and Company Secretary of the Prison Reform Trust, who gave a fascinating speech on The Work of the Prison Reform Trust & Current Projects. A very good base for me before I do my prison visits.

10th March 2019 – The High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire’s Legal Service, St Mary’s, High Pavement, Nottingham
This service was hosted by the High Sheriff, The Lord Mayor of Nottingham and The Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.  Refreshments were provided by “Super Kitchen”, part of Eudaimonia, a charity which tackles the cycle of poverty.  A beautiful old part of Nottingham

Photo credit: visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk

28th February 2019 – East Midlands Ambulance Service, Nottingham
The Chairman, Mrs Pauline Tagg, hosted this visit to the headquarters of the region’s ambulance service.  We spent time with staff and listened to 999 calls being received and then with the clinical team who deal with the callers as they await a medical response.  The calmness of the staff under some harrowing calls was quite remarkable. We owe them all a huge debt.

Photo credit: EMAS NHS Trust

21st February 2019 – Multi-Faith Visits, Leicester
This fascinating visit of faith centres in Leicester was arranged for me by Riaz Ravat from the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester, which works to advance better interfaith relations. I visited a number of places of worship and met the faith leaders who lead each fellowship.  It really was one of the highlights of my year, and made by being able to meet so many different faiths whilst having time to really talk and ask questions.
Leicester should be justifiably proud of being held up as the role model for multi faith communities successfully living side by side.  What I was so thrilled to see though, particularly at tea, that everyone is prepared to listen and LEARN. It must all stem from education and understanding at an early age, and I was so pleased to see during the day at the various places of worship, that this is put as such a high priority and that diversity can be enjoyed rather than being regarded with suspicion.

14th February 2019 – East Midlands Special Operations Unit, Hucknall, Nottingham
This visit was hosted by Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Dicken, the head of the local Criminal Investigation Department (CID).  We were shown around this five-force forensic collaboration, which began in 2010.  The Unit includes a fingerprint bureaux, chemical enhancement laboratory and drugs unit and deals with forensic submissions for the local region.
This was a fascinating insight into how crime is continuing to be fought in an ever changing world, and it was very reassuring for us all that we have such a professional team keeping us so much safer.

14th February 2019 – Traffic Patrol of Leicester City with Traffic Police, Leicester
This was an unusual way to spend Valentine’s Day, but my consort and I were amazed at the variety of things that the Police patrol covered on their shift.  The first call was an arson case, which saw our patrol car being driven on the wrong side of the road, through traffic lights on red and around bollards at high speed.  The second call was stabbing.  The final call was very moving and poignant, when we were called to the scene of an attempted suicide where a small child was present in the house. The bravery, courage and strength of character required to undertake such a job was highlighted in this day’s visit and I will never forget the cases which I was privileged to see.

Photo credit: Leicestershire Police

13th February 2019 – Dinner hosted by the Vice-Chancellor & President of Loughborough University, Professor Robert Allison, Loughborough University, Loughborough
Professor Bob Allison, kindly hosted a dinner at his home to thank me and others for our support of the University during our time in office. We had a wonderful evening with a delicious dinner, enjoying hearing so much more about the University from students and Vice-Chancellor.

10th February 2019 – High Sheriff of Lincolnshire’s Legal Service, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln
A Choral Mattins was basis of the Legal Service, with the wonderful choir of the Cathedral. It was followed by a drinks reception when we could all appreciate the sheer beauty of this stunning building.

Photo credit: Lincoln Cathedral

7th February 2019 – KuKu Connect February Connect Reception, Chutney Ivy, Leicester
Businesses came together to discuss the highs and lows of trading in Leicester and Leicestershire.  This is an opportunity to pool knowledge and to form links and alliances with others in the same field.  A great restaurant who kindly hosted us.

27th January 2019 – Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, Fraser Noble Hall, Leicester
This poignant event was held to recognise that the Holocaust was a tragically defining episode of the 20thCentury, a crisis for European civilisation and a universal catastrophe for humanity.  The programme included talks on The Auschwitz Project, a Visit to Srebrenica and “Torn from Home”, this year’s theme.  The Paul Winstone Memorial Art Competition winners were presented with awards and there were musical interludes performed by local students and Howard Coleman.
The 4 young people that took part in the Auschwitz Project and talked about their experiences where quite remarkable.

25th January 2019 – Westerby Glitter Ball, Mercure Grand Hotel, Leicester – in aid of LOROS
We were lucky enough to be asked by John Knight to attend this ball sponsored by Westerby who have been long, very loyal and generous supporters of LOROS. Lots of presentations to Company members followed by an evening of dancing!

24th January 2019 – Citizenship Ceremony, Registration Offices at Anstey Frith House, County Hall, Leicester
It was an honour to present Certificates of British Citizenship at a Citizenship Ceremony at Anstey Frith House. Each person had to meet stringent criteria, and pay a fee of £1005, before swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen and an oath to give their loyalty and respect to the United Kingdom.  The new citizens all expressed how honoured and delighted they were to now belong to the United Kingdom.

Photo credit: Celebrate in Leicestershire

17th January 2019 – East Midlands High Sheriffs’ Regional Conference, Washingborough Hall Hotel, Lincoln
This event was held to keep all High Sheriff’s up-to-date with the role of the High Sheriff in changing times. It was organised by Mr Ian Walters, the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire. After lunch we had a visit to International Bomber Command Unit. If you have never visited this, it is a must. Lincoln Cathedral was the last view, and for the lucky survivors, the first view they had of home when setting off or returning from their duties.

Photo credit: Washingborough Hall

10th January 2019 – Scouts Awards Ceremony, Leicestershire Scouts, Leicester Forest East
The ceremony was held to celebrate the achievement of Scouts in Leicestershire and I was honoured to award the Chief Scout’s Gold Award and Chief Scout’s Platinum Award, both of which are achieved only through the young people’s commitment, determination and courage.  In addition, I was able to give my thanks for the Scouts’ help at the St George’s Service in April 2018 and their help in July 2018 at the launch of “A Million Hands” in conjunction with Toys on the Table.

20 December 2019 – The Cathedral Carol Service, Leicester Cathedral
The Cathedral was full for this Carol Service and I was delighted to read the Sixth Lesson.  There were many new carols to enjoy, as well as the old favourites.

Phew…..last Carol Service and a bit of a break to try and get organised for Christmas!!

Photo credit: Nativity Figures, Leicester Cathedral, Charles Gurrey

18th December 2018 – North West Leicestershire District Council Civic Carol Service, Christ Church, Coalville
The Chairman, Councillor Mr John Clarke, held a lovely carol service, with solo performances by mezzo-soprano Motje Wolf and Sweet Harmony Choir.  The collection was split Chairman’s charity choices, Alzheimer’s Society and Hospice Hope, a local provision which provides practical and emotional support to people with life-limiting conditions, including their carers and their immediate family.

Photo credit: Leicestershire Churches

13th December 2018 – Blaby District Council Christmas Carol Service, Council Chamber, The Council Offices, Naborough
The Chairman of the Council, Councillor Mrs Sharon Coe, hosted this evening which was a ticket only event used to raise funds for her chosen charity, The Pink Pants Trust. Entertainment was provided by Musical Village and Enderby Band.

Photo credit: Narborough Parish Council

12th December 2018 – Oadby & Wigston Borough Council Civic Carol Service, Oadby Baptist Church, Oadby
The Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Mr David Carter and Mrs Janet Carter, hosted this service.

The Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Mr David Carter and Mrs Janet Carter, hosted this service.

10th December 2018 – St Philip’s Centre End of Year Thank You Evening, St Philip’s, Leicester
This was evening of informal networking over refreshments for all those who work for or volunteer with the St Philip’s Centre in its work to advance better interfaith relations. Riaz Ravat, the Deputy Director, was my guide as I met faith leaders from all areas of the Leicester.

9th December 2018 – District of Harborough Civic Carol Service, St Dionysius, Market Harborough

The Chairman of the Council, Councillor Mrs Lesley Bowles, hosted this service.

Photo credit: Harborough Mail

6th December 2018 – Leicester & Leicestershire Courts Carol Service, Leicester Cathedral

This special service was dedicated to those who work for and with the judiciary and saw judges, a solicitor, a barrister and others take the lessons and readings.

Photo credit: Leicester Cathedral

3rd December 2018 – A Christmas Concert for LOROS, St James the Greater, Leicester

This wonderful concert was organised by APPLAUSE in aid of LOROS, the local hospice which provides free care to terminally ill patients and their families through Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.  Leanne Myles gave a moving speech describing how LOROS had helped the whole family during the time that her Grandmother was cared for in the hospice.  They truly offer a holistic approach to caring for the patient and the patient’s carers.

Photo credit: LOROS

Christmas celebrations:

25 November, 3pm – Mayor of Hinckley & Bosworth’s Civic Carol Service, St Mary’s, Hinckley

29 November – St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival, Melton Mowbray

This is the largest Christmas Tree Festival in the Country with over 220 organisations taking part in decorating the 1340 trees and church. I took part in an interview with Rev Kevin Ashby on the role of High Sheriff. The Church looked fantastic when all the lights were turned on.

28th November 2018 – Visit to the University of Leicester by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

I was very honoured to be part of Reception committee welcoming their Royal Highnesses to Leicester University. The weather was horrendous with sheet rain turning umbrellas upside down, so it was decided to greet them indoors. Their Royal Highnesses visited the University of Leicester to celebrate the University’s work in the local community and with Leicester City Football Club. They met representatives of Heartwize initiative, and a number of students who explained the benefits that the Centenary Scholarship programme had given them.

They then went on to meet members of the waiting crowd, when, thankfully, the rain had stopped!

This visit was held in conjunction with their Highnesses visit to Leicester City Football Club, where they offered their condolences regarding the death of the Club’s Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four others who had died a month earlier in a helicopter crash.

21st November 2018 – The AGM of the High Sheriffs’ Association of England and Wales, Fishmongers’ Hall, London Bridge

This AGM was held at the Fishmongers Hall. A beautiful building beside the Thames. We were given a very informative talk by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett after lunch.

Photo credit: Shoal743, Scabetti

15th November 2018 – The Chief Constable’s Awards Ceremony, Leicestershire Police

I was very proud to attend this awards evening and present the Crown Court Commendation Awards. It was a wonderful evening recognising those of the force and the public for their bravery, service and dedication to the community

Photo credit: Leicestershire Police

14th November 2018 – The Hon Mr Justice Holgate, High Court Judge sitting at Leicester.

Mr Justice Holgate is a High Court Judge and he came to preside over and judge the distressing case of a fatal explosion and fire on Hinckley Road, Leicester.  I attended Court as is the tradition of a High Sheriff when a High Court judge is sitting, and heard readingLetters Patent, and the Jury being sworn in. I also presented Mr Justice Holgate with a “Nosegay” which was historically used by the judges and is a small bunch of fragrant flowers and  herbs, tied in a bundle, and originally intended to be put to the nose of the judge to mask unpleasant odours in the court!

I sat in on this long and grim case on various days. It overran and everyone had to come back after Christmas. Aram Kurd, 33, Arkan Ali, 37, and Hawkar Hassan, 32, were finally convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit fraud and Justice Holgate gave them a life sentence. It is a case that the City of Leicester and Leicestershire will remember for a long time.

Photo credit: Leicester Mercury

13th November 2018 – Leicestershire Police Inter-Cultural Social Evening, Enderby, Leicester

More than 250 guests attended the annual event which took place at force headquarters and gives communities’ access to see what is going on operationally in policing locally across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Simon Cole introduced this event and Civic and faith leaders from a wide range of religious backgrounds joined many other guests at the event. They had the opportunity to talk to operational officers and staff, Special Constables, Police Cadets, Crimestoppers, our Faith support networks, members of the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and police officers trained in British Sign Language.

The event provided a great opportunity to showcase the specialist services that the force offers to the diverse communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

November 2018 – Centenary of the First World War Armistice

Throughout November there were a series of event which commemorated the end of World War I and the declaration of peace on 11 November 1918.  The weekend of Remembrance Sunday, which fell on 11 November 2018, was a very poignant tribute to those who gave their lives to ensure peace for Britain and beyond.  Whilst we particularly remembered those who served a century ago, we also gave thanks for all the members of our armed forces in the 100 years that followed and their brave work both here and internationally.  // Photo credit: BBC

Friday 9 – Leicestershire County Council’s Service to Commemorate the Armistice, County Hall, Leicester, where I laid a wreath on behalf of the Leicestershire Shrievalty.

Saturday 10 – “War Requiem”performed at De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Sunday 11, 10.55 am – Remembrance Day Service and Parade, Arch of Remembrance, Victoria Park, Leicester

Sunday 11 – Centenary Square Dedication, University of Leicester. This was followed by a talk by Sir David Attenborough, Patron. He stood and spoke without a note for 10 minutes and you could have heard a pin drop – what a man.

Sunday 11, 4pm – A Service to Commemorate the Centenary of the end of the First World War, Leicester Cathedral

Sunday 11, 5.30pm – “Beacons of Light” and a service of commemoration, St Mary’s, Melton Mowbray. The horror of the number of names read out, often from the same families, from a town that would have been so small then, brought the horrendous loss of life truly home. The complete loss of a generation of young men in a small county town.

1st November 2018 – PROFILE1, New Walk Business Network

A new business network was set up for Leicestershire businesses to come together and discuss the challenges and advantages of working in Leicestershire. Mattioli Woods hosted this in the top floor of their amazing offices at New Walk where the views across the City are sensational – lucky staff!

30th OCTOBER 2018 – Rainbows Hospice Visit
This private visit to the Rainbows Hospice enabled me to talk personally to the staff and those families using this amazing care facility.  This is an establishment that should be very sad, but the overall feel is of very professional care and support, and, however grim the situation may be, there are those who are there for the children and families in their care.  Inspirational.

30th OCTOBER 2018 – “Pulled Both Ways”, Soft Touch Arts
This event began with a premiere viewing of three powerful social action films made by young people in Leicester, which highlighted the emotional impact of divorce and separation on children.  We were then able to celebrate some of our local young people’s achievements when certificates were awarded by the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mr Michael Kapur OBE.

28th OCTOBER 2018 – Leicestershire Justice Service
Our own Justice Service was held in St Mary’s Parish Church, Melton Mowbray and the Bishop of Loughborough blessed the judiciary within Leicestershire and gave an inspiring address on Belonging.   Our day did not start well, as the Chief Constable, Simon Cole, notified me of the tragic helicopter disaster the previous evening at Leicester City Football ground.  Obviously our lunch and service took into account commemoration of the lives lost.

This is the first time that a Justice Service has been held at St Mary’s, Melton Mowbray, which is the church I have been closely involved in, having been married there and having my husband’s and parents’ memorial services there, and I felt that it was an ideal opportunity to celebrate the wonderful refurbishment and restoration that had been done to this beautiful church.

My Chaplain, Kevin Ashby, did a wonderful job on helping organise the Service, as well as being part of it.

Photo Credit: Phil Balding

25th OCTOBER 2018 – Annual Dinner of the Guild of St Martin, Leicester Cathedral
The Guild of St Martin is integral to the continuation of worship and care of the Cathedral that stretches back on this site to medieval times. Membership for individuals starts at £250 per year and for businesses at £500.  Members become part of the life of the unique and special Cathedral and enjoy invitations to a programme of social events throughout the year. This was the annual black tie candlelit dinner for 2018, which takes place inside the Cathedral, and raises money to support outreach, education and music, cathedral events and services, specially arranged trips and regular newsletters. The Cathedral lit by hundreds of candles looked stunning, and what a wonderful setting for a dinner!

Photo credit: Leicester Cathedral

24th OCTOBER 2018 – Sandringham Association of Royal Warrant Holders event, with a talk describing the location of the body of Richard III in 2012
The Sandringham Association of Royal Warrant Holders kindly invited me to a business lunch at St Martin’s House, next to Leicester Cathedral.  Dr Richard Buckley CBE was the leader of the project which located and removed the remains of Richard III in Leicester during the summer of 2012 and he gave a fascinating talk about the events which lead up to the archaeological dig being allowed to go ahead and the celebration of the team on finding the late King’s remains.

Photo credit: University of Leicester

23rd OCTOBER 2018 – Magistrates’ Association: Leicestershire & Rutland Branch AGM
The speaker at this event, Professor Guy Rutty, gave a fascinating talk titled “Forensic Pathology, Crime & Beyond”.  Forensic pathology is a field of forensic science which involves application of pathological methods in investigation of a crime and of sudden, suspicious or unexplained deaths. A forensic pathologist examines bodies in order to determine the cause of death and circumstances surrounding the cause of death as well as looks for evidence that can be used in trials. Professor Rutty is one of the Home Office experts who will also be sent to investigate a death of any British Citizen abroad and he has been very much involved in tsunamis and air crashes.

18th OCTOBER 2018 – Northamptonshire Justice Service
The Court’s Service for Northamptonshire was held at All Saints, Northampton, a marvellous building in the middle of the county town of Northamptonshire.  We heard a very impressive sermon given by Revd David Walsh, Rector of St Peter & St Paul, Kettering.

Photo credit: All Saints, Northampton

16th OCTOBER 2018 – Young Leicestershire, Leicester
Young Leicestershire is the biggest provider of open-access clubs for young people in Leicester and Leicestershire with over 15,000 members now attending their network of affiliated groups.  It is passionate about providing young people with the widest possible range of positive activities – which they achieve through leading and supporting voluntary-sector services.  They support and help raise funds for everything from sports clubs and young carers’ groups to international conventions and new youth centres.  With 60 years’ experience behind them, and professional expertise that’s recognised as unmatched in their field, Young Leicestershire is run entirely as a charitable institution.

I visited The Edge Youth Club in Melton Mowbray, when I was impressed with the passion, commitment and energy of their leader, Anthony Marvin, and look forward to watching Young Leicestershire grow and develop under his guidance.


16th OCTOBER 2018 – LOROS Hospice Care for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
It was a pleasure to meet the new Chief Executive, John Knight.  This is a remarkable facility, providing high quality and compassionate care to the terminally ill and their families and carers.  John gave me a very detailed tour, with the President, Lady Gretton, and explained their future plans.

14th OCTOBER 2018 – Derbyshire Legal Service
The adjoining county of Derbyshire held their Legal Service, blessing the legal and judicial process and those who are part of it.
We were lucky enough to have lunch at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where we visited a special exhibition.
The photograph shows me beside the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Rutland, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, (seated) Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.

11th OCTOBER 2018 – Rural Achievements Awards
The Rural Community Council Rural Achievements Awards recognise people and organisations who are making a difference in rural Leicestershire and Rutland.  This evening was arranged by Martin Traynor OBE, the Chair of the Rural Community Council, and Sam Howlett and Kevin Butcher, in their roles as Executive Directors. The awards cover diverse categories such as Community Building, Community Library and Unsung Heroes. There were some remarkable stories from various members who give a huge amount of time and commitment to their local communities.  We should be very grateful, too, for the companies who sponsor the prizes.

Photo Credit: 2018 RRC Rural Awards 4424

11th OCTOBER 2018 – Lady High Sheriffs’ Luncheon, Royal Thames Yacht Club, London
This was an enjoyable lunch where some of us who are present High Sheriffs were asked to be involved in a Question & Answer session, giving practical advice to High Sheriffs in Nomination, as well as sharing experiences and ideas.

10th OCTOBER 2018 – Crimestoppers Dinner, Leicester
As well as working with the courts and the police, it is important to recognise those who are brave enough to report crime.  Crimestoppers is an independent charity that gives all citizens the power to speak up to stop crime, 100% anonymously, either by telephone or online form.

9th OCTOBER 2018 – Stafford Legal Service & Court Opening, Stafford
As High Sheriff of an adjoining county, it is customary to attend their major shrievalty events.  This Legal Service was held to open the Michaelmas Term of the Crown Court at Stafford and was attended by their judges and local dignitaries.

Photo credit: Wikimapia

7th OCTOBER 2018 – County Service for Leicestershire, Leicester Cathedral
Having blessed the Borough of Melton in the morning, it was the turn of the County of Leicestershire in the afternoon.  The ceremony was attended by the Lord Lieutenant, the Assistant Chief Constable, the Chairman of the County Council, the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor, as well as the Chief Executive of the County Council and heads of the local Universities.

Photo credit: Visit Leicester

7th OCTOBER 2018 – Civic Service, Melton Mowbray
This special service was held by the Mayor of Melton to bless the Borough of Melton, including the Mayor and all those in positions of authority and influence.  I was delighted to be asked to take part in the event and read the First Lesson.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

2nd OCTOBER 2018 – Attending Crown Court, Leicester
My role as High Sheriff is to support the judiciary and this very interesting visit gave an in-depth insight to the workings of the Court.  On this occasion, I sat in as an observer on a variety of cases.

Photo credit: Leicester Mercury

26 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Attending County Court, Leicester
I attended the County Court in Leicester and sat in on various cases in the Family Division, some of which were very distressing.  The sound advice, judgement and support given to the families and children by our judges made me realise why our justice system in this country is so envied by other nations.

Photo Credit: Leicester County Court & Family Court

24 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Coach Core Awards, Loughborough University
It was a great honour to be presented to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they visited Loughborough University to present Coach Core awards.  They joined the basketball competition with some of the award winners and nominees.  Coach Core is an apprenticeship programme that helps young people (16-24 years old) who are not in education, employment or training to build a career.

Photo Credit: Kensington Palace

Tuesday 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 – British Empire Medal Investiture Ceremony, invested by HM Lord-Lieutenant Mr Kapur, Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse
Three local people were invested with the medal of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) at this inspiring event at Beaumanor Hall.  How lucky we are in the county to have such people dedicating so much of their time for others.

Photo Credit: @LeicsLieutenant


16 SEPTEMBER 2018 – The Battle of Britain & The Centenary of the Royal Air Force, A Service of Commemoration at St Mary’s Parish Church, Melton Mowbray
This is an historical year for the Royal Air Force and this commemoration paid tribute to the RAF’s vital role in winning World War II.  The parade was followed by a very moving service at St Mary’s, during which I read a Lesson.  We then moved on to lay wreaths at the Melton War Memorial at Edgerton Lodge. We owe all those brave airmen a huge debt of thanks and some of them were so very young when they lost their lives.

12 SEPTEMBER 2018 – “Sounding the Retreat”, The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas, Oakham Market Square
This event was a tribute to the role of the Gurkhas within British military history and was close to my heart, as my father fought beside them in World War II.  Funds were raised for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which provides a lifetime of support for soldiers and veterans from every conflict.

Photo Credit: Fiveprime @oakhamuk


10 SEPTEMBER 2018 – KuKu Connect Boutique launch, PERA Business Park, Melton Mowbray
As well as supporting charitable, historical and armed forces events, the role of High Sheriff is to promote worthwhile local business ventures, too.  This was an extremely beneficial evening for small business networking, and I was pleased to promote businesses from the Melton and rural areas of Leicestershire, ensuring it was not a city-centric event.  We were “fed and watered” very generously by “The Big Melt” of Sherwood and “Burleighs Gin” from Loughborough.

8 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Wigston Framework Knitters Museum Annual Peppercorn Rent Event, the Sock Day
This fun occasion is historically-based, when the “annual rent” is paid to the Mayor as a pair of socks and takes place in September each year.  A wonderful old building, preserved in its original state, with a great team of volunteers tending the garden.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire looks on as the “rent”, a pair of socks, is paid to the Mayor.

Photo Credit: The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters


7 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, Lichfield, Staffordshire
The High Sheriff of Staffordshire hosted neighbouring High Sheriffs as we visited this beautiful, tranquil memorial site remembering those who have lost their lives in warfare.  Very, very impressive and I would recommend a visit to anyone.

Photo Credit: Diana Thompson

6 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Annual Reception, RAF Wittering
The Officers of the Royal Air Force Wittering hosted their annual reception to showcase the Royal Air Force. We had a Spitfire fly past and were shown all the different areas of work in which the RAF are involved, including viewing Harrier jump jets.  The bomb disposal demonstration was fascinating, as my father undertook this work in World War II.

19 July 2018 – High Sheriff’s Charity Race Day
This event was the highlight of my Summer as High Sheriff and brought together local charities and businesses in an auction lunch and an afternoon of racing, with a silent auction running throughout.  Donated prizes, sponsored races and additional personal and business donations helped to raise an outstanding amount, which was split between the charities: Warning Zone, the High Sheriff’s charity and The Peter Le Marchant Trust, a charity with which I have been involved as a volunteer for many years.






Photo credit: Nico Morgan

 Diana getting ready to present the Trophy to the winner of the High Sheriff’s Charity Race.

Photo credit: Mrs V Hurrell

20 July 2018 – Summer Graduation Ceremony, Loughborough University
This was an opportunity to meet some of this year’s graduates and see them receive their degrees.  I was given lunch by the University Chancellor, Sir Sebastian Coe, and the Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Allison.  We had two Olympian Gold Medallists join us, a rower and canoeist.

Photo credit: Loughborough University

21 July 2018 – Summer Celebration Garden Party, University of Leicester
A lovely Summer Celebration in the garden at Knighton Hall, the home of Gillian and Paul Boyle, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester. We were accompanied by a student band entertaining us with their music.

Photo credit: University of Leicester

26 July 2018 – Summer Evening Buffet Reception, Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse
The Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, Mr Ozzy O’Shea CC, hosted a summer evening buffet reception at Beaumanor Hall.  It was a beautiful evening where everybody was able to wander around the immaculate gardens.  We were all able to purchase a copy the book “The History of Beaumanor Hall”, written by local historian Caroline Wessel.

Picture credit: Beaumanor Hall

27 July 2018 – The Royal Army Veterinary Corps Centenary Parade, Melton Mowbray
Melton Mowbray was proud to celebrate it’s long association with the The Royal Army Veterinary Corps RAVC, formerly The Remount, who exercised its Freedom of Melton Mowbray by parading through the town to mark the centenary of being awarded the Royal Warrant, bestowed on the Corps by King George V.   I was invited to join The Colonel Commandant RAVC, Major General Roly Walker DVSO and Chief Veterinary Officer RAVC, Colonel Neil Smith QHVS, for a buffet lunch in a marquee at the Defence Animal Training Regiment.

Photo Credit: https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events/news/2018/07/royal-army-veterinary-corps-celebrates-its-centenary/

11 June 2018 – High Sheriff of Rutland Service, Oakham
Mrs Susan Jarron, High Sheriff of Rutland, held a service to celebrate voluntary work within Rutland, with the Bishop of Peterborough leading the ceremony.  This was a musical evening held at All Saints Church, with some spectacular singing by Katie Marshall and the Uppingham Ladies’ Choir, who were accompanied by the Beauford Wind Quintet.  The charities being supported were Cancer Research UK, Warning Zone and Rotaract Family Support.


7 June 2018 – “Lord-Lieutenant’s Final Fling”, The Curve, Leicester
This very entertaining evening was devised and written by Dave Andrews and directed by Ed Stagg.  We were treated to a very entertaining evening of music, song, dance and memories in this “This is Your Life”/”Desert Island Discs” event recording Jenny, Lady Gretton’s time as Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire. Funds were raised for charities which Lady Gretton had supported throughout her time as Lord-Lieutenant for Leicestershire since 2003.  She has done an amazing job for the county and will be much missed.


3 June 2018 – Court of the Gild of Freemen of the City of Leicester, Annual Service and, Jennifer Lady Gretton, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire’s Retirement Ceremony
Sunday is not a day of rest!!  On this Sunday we were on duty for two services, but what a great day it was in the sunshine – I was very glad I had not had my uniform made of thick velvet and felt very sorry for all those in full uniform who suffered in the heat.  The new garden area outside the Cathedral worked so well for the reception after Jenny’s service and looked magnificent with the tents brimming with tea and happiness.


Jennifer Ann Gretton, Baroness Gretton DStJ DL JP. Photo Credit: Leicestershire.gov.uk


31 May 2018 –  Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
My son, Ben, and I were honoured to be asked to a Garden Party at the Palace. The sun shone, and the gardens looked magnificent. Her Majesty was there with Prince William and various other members of the Royal Family. A wonderful day with a delicious tea – the little chocolate cakes with a crown on the top really amused Ben and I. They were yummy too!!


31 May 2018 – High Sheriffs’ Reception in London
The Sheriffs of the City of London, Alderman Timothy Hailes and Alderman Neil Redcliffe, entertained all High Sheriffs in the country at a reception in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey.  We were given a tour of the refurbished Court 1 and, when I sat in the dock, I thought of many who had been there before, eg Oscar Wilde and the Kray twins – a thought-provoking visit.

Photo credit: Gretel Ensignia


25 May 2018 – Leicestershire Police Headquarters Tour and Lunch for the Lord-Lieutenant’s Retirement
I had a fascinating day at the Police Headquarters at Enderby with Sue Jarron, the High Sheriff of Rutland.  We visited all the areas, including firearms, dogs, digital hub and the control room.  The progress and speed with which the force can now collate information in the digital hub was quite remarkable.  The whole headquarters had a very good “family” feel about it and I could not have enjoyed myself more and look forward to re-visiting before the end of the year.  The photograph shows the Chief Constable (Simon Cole) and the Assistant Chief Constable with Sue and me.


24 May 2018 – Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre Dinner
I was asked to support this fund-raising dinner by Gordon Arthur, High Sheriff of Leicestershire 2015/16.  This is one of the oldest charities in our county and Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre in Mablethorpe has been giving underprivileged Leicestershire children free holidays for 120 years.  I would much recommend supporting them in their holiday ventures this year.


20 May 2018 – 100th Anniversary of the RAF
A parade through Leicester with the Salute being taken by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC MA RAF, was followed by a choral evensong at Leicester Cathedral to mark 100 years of the Royal Air Force.  The Chief of the Air Staff gave a moving address to the congregation and spoke fondly of his connections with Leicester as his first posting was in this area.  It was a wonderful day celebrating the rich history of the RAF, including seeing so many veterans on the parade and in the Cathedral.


11 May 2018 – Lord Mayor’s Dinner
The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Rashmikant Joshi, hosted a retirement dinner at Devonshire Place, Leicester, to raise awareness of the work done by the Alzheimer’s Society.  Mr Lloyd Butcher of the Alzheimer’s Society gave us a very informative talk about the disease, research, campaigning and advice and guidance.

(Photo credit: Leicester City Council


9 May 2018 – “Warning Zone” Trustees Meeting and Founders’ Reception
As one of my chosen charities, I was invited to a meeting at Warning Zone to discuss future fundraising and to hear about the great strides they are making in covering schools with their new “Roadcrew” campaign.  Warning Zone delivers powerful and entertaining internet safety messages to over 10,000 year 6 students every year. When those students reach year 7 their social circles change beyond recognition, and that also applies to their online life. That’s why a whole new project  has been designed to bring useful advice about using the internet safely and recognising risk directly to schools.  I would urge any of you who have not visited their headquarters at Frog Island to go – it is worth a visit by those of all ages and they are always pleased to meet new volunteers.


2 May 2018 – Visit by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester
His Royal Highness the Duke of Goucester visited the headquarters of the Royal Airforce Association at Atlas House, which has recently been totally refurbished and is now operational as the RAFA new headquarters.  This modern building allows cost-effective management and continued welfare support for the RAF family.  I was honoured to meet HRH the Duke of Gloucester and also a number of veterans from the assisted living accommodation at Wexford House in Melton Mowbray amongst others.  In addition, I met the President of the Royal Air Forces Association, Air Marshal Sir Baz North KCB OBE MA FRAes, who I am talking to in the photograph below.

Photo credit: Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA)


26 April 2018 – Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards Evening and Celebration Dinner
Lord-Lieutenants Young Person of the Year 2018: Kristiana Groza, aged 18 from Ashby de la Zouch
This was a very humbling and inspirational evening.  It was gratifying to see such talent in our county, and also to meet so many young people overcoming adversity and showing such courage and determination.  We were very lucky to sit on a table for dinner with Tom Ryan and his family, and let’s hope we will be there with our Union Jacks when he swims for our country!

Photo credit: Leicestershire County Council


22 April 2018 – Leicester City Scouts St George’s Service & Parade
Over 1,000 Scouts took part in the Service and Parade in Leicester.  The rain held off for the Salute and Parade, which followed an inspiring service and presentations in the Charles Wilson Building.

Photo credit: Leicester Mercury


12 April 2018 – High Sheriff Handover Ceremony
My High Sheriff year started with the handover ceremony at St Martin’s House, Leicester Cathedral, organised by the outgoing High Sheriff, Tim Maxted.  Taking on the role of High Sheriff is a huge honour and Tim Maxted gave a full report on his year.  I responded by setting out the aims I have for my year in office, which will be continuing to support the rural heritage of Leicestershire, as well as becoming involved with those organisations who are working with children and young people who have become disengaged, and sometimes excluded, from the education system.