I write this as a further national lockdown is announced across the whole Country which will heavily restrict any work the High Sheriff can do to meet people in the County – but we did manage to keep the show on the road in December, albeit in increasingly difficult circumstances.
A sadness was not being able to attend the normal carol services and Christmas concerts which are put on by various schools, groups and charities in the county, including the one at HMP The Mount. I hope everyone was able to get out and hear some carols somewhere and feel that the spirit of Christmas was amongst us even if we have been unable to share our table with our neighbours and friends.
However, there have been highlights for the High Sheriff during the month – I was able to join the members of the Aldbury Branch of the Royal British Legion and congratulate them for their sterling work in being the fund raising champions of Hertfordshire. We met at The Greyhound Pub in Aldbury (their meeting room!) but we had to be outside on a bitterly cold evening – but the drinks and food soon warmed us. I also attended the Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Training Centre at Stevenage and went 45m above the town on the aerial platform. I also saw first hand the extensive training our fire fighters are put through and the courage they show at every call out they make.
In recognition of true community spirit I was honoured to make the awards of Hero of Hertfordshire certificates at Sarratt Village Shop – the volunteers have kept this shop open all through the pandemic providing a vital service to their rural community. A visit to The St Francis Hospice at Berkhamsted showed me how the wonderful team here care for their residents and give so much hope to so many suffering from disabilities and illnesses.
As Christmas approached I was able to join parties on Zoom with DRUM, Ascend and Electric Umbrella and present awards on line with the Samaritans and HACRO. Do not be deterred from meeting up on Zoom – you can have just as much fun getting together and raising the spirits.
There are difficult weeks ahead but remember to look out for your neighbours and ensure that those without friends and family are not cut off completely. You will be surprised what a phone call can do for those on their own.