It was both a privilege and an honour to host the High Sheriff’s Justice Service in St Albans Cathedral on Sunday.
In the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, the service thanks all those in the field of Law and Order for their fantastic work across the county. I was thrilled to welcome Court of Appeal and High Court Judges, Circuit and District Court Judges, Recorders, Barristers, Solicitors, representatives from the Magistrates Association, the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner to name a few and it was also a delight to be joined by High Sheriff’s from Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and the Sheriff of the City of London
In line with one of my themes for my year in office, the service focused on the challenge of Modern Slavery. We enjoyed biblical readings, including telling the story of Joseph, as he’s sold into slavery, and were entertained by the beautiful singing of the Cathedral Choir who performed traditional African American anthems by Michael Tippett. Lydia Singer, a student from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, also performed ‘Amazing Grace’, singing the first verse unaccompanied, which was an incredibly special moment and quite breath-taking in the amazing acoustics of the Cathedral.
The theme culminated in a powerful sermon by my Chaplain, The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn, who preached about the problem of slavery in 21st century society and reinforced the message that to help eradicate this national issue, we must all take responsibility to help rescue those in servitude and bring the perpetrators to justice.
I’d like to thank the Brass Ensemble from The Purcell School for performing two fanfares to announce the High Sheriff’s and Cathedral Procession so magnificently. The music was rousing and a great start to the service.
When the service concluded those in the High Sheriff’s Procession processed back to the New Museum and Gallery in St Albans town centre. It was quite a sight to see so many members of the Judiciary, dressed in their finest, walking through the busy streets, with many members of the general public stopping to watch us go past.
I was very well supported on the day by representatives from the East Herts Volunteer Police Cadets, the St Albans Volunteer Police Cadets, the Bishop’s Stortford Army Cadets and the St Albans Army Cadets - thank you to you all for doing such a fantastic job. Special mentions to Millie Wyatt (Police Cadet) and Roman Dalton (Army Cadet) for acting as my two Sword-bearers.
Finally, I would like to thank the Bishop and Dean of St Albans and all at the Cathedral for their support and help and also to past and future High Sheriff’s who acted as Ushers on the day.
It was truly wonderful to see the Cathedral so full and I’m grateful to all who came - a day I’ll never forget!