December marked nine months in office as High Sheriff and the end of a wonderful 2022.
Fabulous Nordic Fir Christmas trees were on sale in Sacombe Green, all proceeds donated to the Hertfordshire Community Foundation and Sacombe Church. Our tree was still perfect when we took it down, so make a note for next Christmas for the best trees in the county!
Meeting St Nicholas at the Great Hormead Christmas Fair in St Nicholas Church was very colourful, alongside plentiful stalls selling beautiful homemade gifts, food and treasures, with carols and bell-ringing adding to the festive spirit.
Back to Royston Fire Station for their Christmas Family celebrations, involving the local community whilst encouraging fire safety.
The joint Hertfordshire Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service Carol Service in All Saints Hertford was a triumph of music, readings by the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer, and children placing angels, baby Jesus, shepherds and sheep in the nativity scene. The Hertford & Ware police cadets lit our way to the church hall afterwards, with just a little help from the fire engines standing by.
The next Carol Service was held by the Herts Women in Fellowship in St Peter’s Church, Benington, with a thought provoking address by Revd Bailey on gifts that keep on giving, and the importance to the recipient of who is the giver.
Every year the Isabel Hospice holds Lights of Love Ceremonies to bring people together with carols, reflections, memories and recognition of those who volunteer. Reading a poem in the still darkness in Welwyn Garden City before the lights were switched on was very moving.
The dedicated team at Change Grow Live in Hertford work flat out to improve the lives of those dealing with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Inspiring and empathetic, they make a real difference to those needing help in Hertfordshire.
As a volunteer for Breast Cancer Now for nearly 30 years, I was delighted to meet the team in London for an update. Covering both breast cancer research and care, this charity looks to a future where the disease is no longer feared. Lots of you in Hertfordshire have supported our Fighting Breast Cancer Committee’s fundraising over many years, thank you.
Graduation Day for the Law School students at the University of Hertfordshire was a colourful triumph and a proud moment for all.
The Stevenage Mayor’s Carol Service in the Old Town was full of children singing, poems, readings and popular carols, all in support of her chosen charities. Deputy Lieutenant Kate Belinis and I seemed to be surrounded by other dignitaries wearing magnificent chains!
Ware Drill Hall was magically transformed for Hertford Theatre’s “The Snowsmith”, a real treat for families and all.
St Vedast-alias-Foster near St Paul’s was the setting for another glorious Carol Service, held for the University of Bristol London Alumni. The awesome music was well worth braving the snow to get there from Hertfordshire!
The Isabel Hospice Carol Service in the Chapel at Haileybury featured glorious singing by the Wimbish Military Wives Choir. Mulled wine and mince pies followed in the Dining Hall, where we spotted a magnificent gingerbread replica of this famous Hertfordshire School.
The Tiffin Club and HAWA (Hertfordshire Asian Women’s Association) included me in their lovely celebration of their recent Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. They promote women in Hertfordshire, bring elderly people together in The Tiffin Club, provide activities for younger members and are invaluable in the St Albans community
December draws to a close
I was honoured to present a High Sheriff’s Certificate to the amazing Support Service Volunteers at the Hertfordshire Coroners’ Court in Hatfield. Dedicated and empathetic, the team provide independent support to the public, guiding the bereaved through the court process, however difficult and painful.
Christmas Crackers at Standon Church brought together three community choirs for an evening of marvellous music and mulled wine, with over £1,000 of donations to the High Sheriff’s Fund at the Hertfordshire Community Foundation. Thank you!
Presenting HACRO Awards to these four brave people was a joy. Turning their lives around after substance misuse, crime, life in care or homelessness, they now have hope and ambition, with a happier life before them. HACRO’s courses and mentoring make a huge difference to those struggling in Hertfordshire.
Back to Broxbourne Police Station to present Awards to four officers who have gone beyond their duty to keep us safe.
Al Barrie’s annual Hertford Theatre Comedy Show in aid of the Hertfordshire Breast Unit Appeal was a sell-out, with his brilliant comedian friends donating their time to the cause.
Christmas Lessons and Carols in St Albans Cathedral is a feast of glorious music and traditional birth of Jesus stories, all by candlelight. The final Carol Service before Christmas Day was in St Catherine’s Church Sacombe, also by candlelight and always very special.
A tour of East Herts Police and Fire Stations was an opportunity to thank all those who worked on Christmas Day to keep us safe. Thank you.
Farewell 2022 and welcome 2023!