As I approach the end of my year as High Sheriff, and prepare to hand over the reins to Suzy Harvey on Saturday, I wanted to reach out to say farewell.
It has been an immense privilege being High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 2017/2018.
When I accepted the role it was with little understanding of what it involved and even less of where it might be possible to make a difference.
Now that it is nearly over, I am often asked what next? Good question…………
The highlights from my year are many: events and relationships with the Cathedral in St Albans, the Building Effectiveness programme at Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the relationship with the Hertfordshire Constabulary and judiciary, The High Sheriff’s Bake Off at the garden party, meeting so many great volunteers doing great things in the County, the knitted sheriff ‘dolls’ and the High Sheriff Awards, the enthusiasm and passion which so many organisations apply to issues they really care about, the friends we have made across the County and in so many different communities, discovering so much more within Hertfordshire.
So many people have been really kind and supportive: thank you to you all but in particular the Shrievalty, past High Sheriffs, the Judges and staff at St Albans and Watford Courts, Charlie Hall and the Police, Bishop Alan, The Dean and staff at St Albans Cathedral, The Under Sheriff Richard Taylor, Nicola Stokes and my wife Kate.
If there has been one particular learning it is this: the State simply cannot take care of all the issues that arise in society. The welfare state was spelt out in the Beveridge Report of 1942 offering nothing less than a state that looked after us citizens ‘from cradle to grave’. It is increasingly obvious that this cannot be fulfilled.
Instead it is up to us as individuals, families and communities to ‘look after our own’ and spend whatever time and money we can looking after each other, volunteering and being prepared to get involved and be there to help each other.
Only through these efforts can all our lives be ‘lived better’ and our own lives more fulfilled.