January 2023 marked the start of my final three months as High Sheriff. The highlight of the month was my introduction to the latest Hertfordshire Constabulary recruit, TPD Sheriff.
Champneys Tring is the original health spa and the flagship of the Champneys brand throughout Hertfordshire and beyond. I was delighted to meet the General Manager and team to learn about their charitable work in the community.
Tina Davies OBE set up Cancer UK-Salone, which bridges the care gap and supports cancer care in communities in Hertfordshire and in her birth country Sierra Leone.
The Farmschool near Harpenden was established in 2014 by Ian Pigott DL on his working arable farm, setting out to reconnect children and young people with food, farming and the environment. A very valuable and relevant initiative for Hertfordshire.
Preparing for the High Sheriff’s Drugs & Alcohol Symposium in February, I met Professor Ornella Corazza at the University of Hertfordshire. Professor of Addiction Science and recognised across the globe, Ornella has set up the International Society for the Study of Emerging Drugs to face the challenges of this alarming and increasing threat.
Raising the profile of the High Sheriff is important. I gave a talk on the role at the Jersey Farm Day Centre in St Albans, then presented a High Sheriff Certificate to Abigail Harris at her Rock Choir rehearsal. Abigail brings music to Hertfordshire and the wonderful Rock Choir performed at my Garden Party at Knebworth in September.
Sarah Pateman works tirelessly on domestic abuse, and is dedicated to keeping women in Hertfordshire safe. It was an honour to recognise her with a High Sheriff’s Certificate.
Essex High Sheriff Nick Alston invited neighbouring High Sheriffs from Beds, Bucks, Cambs, Herts and Rutland to visit the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, with tours of the training and education centres, talks on welfare, detention and offender management and a Military Working Dog demonstration. Then on to Colchester Garrison, home of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, the UK’s most potent rapidly deployable army formation and the largest Brigade in the British Army with over 6,000 personnel.
The Purcell School in Bushey is an international centre of musical excellence, providing education with music at its heart to talented musicians from across the globe. Meeting the students and attending one of their glorious daily lunchtime concerts was a real treat.
National Neighbourhood Week saw me on the beat with the Hertford Police, following up residents’ concerns about speeding and signing people up to OWL, an online service providing local alerts and crime prevention advice. I also met the new Broxbourne Chief Inspector Vicky Richards, whose team had been visiting schools, bike marking and testing speeds, raising the profile of the police within the local community.
The Stevenage Holocaust event included stories by the Lord-Lieutenant and others on this year’s theme of “Ordinary People”. In Broxbourne we remembered the victims of the Holocaust and worldwide genocide at the Lowewood Museum Holocaust Memorial. It was an honour to light a candle in memory of all those who perished.
The St Albans Cathedral Education Trust put on an amazing concert to launch their Opportunities Fund for school children. Performances by Lemn Sissay, Rohan Azar and Stile Antico took us on a poignant journey to reflect on the reality of being “In a Strange Land”.
Cutting a blue ribbon that matched my High Sheriff’s velvet coat to open physiotherapist trained Pilates teacher Suzy Richardson’s new Pilates Pavilion was a fun end to the month.
But the final word must be about my police dog Sheriff. In collaboration with the Hertfordshire Constabulary, I have sponsored a 14-month old German Shepherd puppy, who has now come to Hertfordshire for training with her handler Becky. I was delighted that the many police officers with their dogs I have got to know during my year came to Police HQ to welcome Sheriff, although the Chief Constable and I found it a challenge to get them all to look at the camera at the same time!