To have been High Sheriff in the year of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was a huge honour.
Platinum Jubilee weekend
The first weekend in June saw crowds descend on Hertford Castle to enjoy music, speeches, a light show and the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee beacon. The grounds were full of the Yarn Bombers’ creations, a perfect backdrop for the red, white and blue worn by the Hertford Mayor, County Council Chair and High Sheriff!
More Jubilee events as three Hertford choirs came together for a Choral Celebration in All Saints’ Church, I received a warm welcome by Rabbi Sam Taylor at Yavneh College and my Chaplain Rev John Chitham and his curate Charlie led a glorious Jubilee Service in Little Munden Church, after which I greatly enjoyed presenting rosettes for jams and cakes at the Little Munden fete in the afternoon.
A very busy June!
A busy start with presenting good work certificates to three police officers at Broxbourne Police station and a morning at Emmaus in St Albans to talk to the companions who live and work there while regaining hope in their lives.
Next a lunch for past lady High Sheriffs, past High Sheriff ladies and the two High Sheriffs in nomination, and a lively visit to Royston fire station for their open day.
I gained a better understanding of The Mount Prison, for adult males, with a focus on preparing prisoners for release by education and training. One of their many workshops is run by Redemption Roasters, who teach the men to roast and pack coffee.
Then a whirlwind introduction to the Watford Chamber of Commerce by Chis Luff and his team, and a look at art produced by local artists Amma Gyan and John Hewitt.
Next, a day with Judge Kay in St Albans Crown Court, meeting many of the conscientious people who work hard to operate a fair court system.
For Volunteers Week I presented certificates for Home-Start volunteers, admired Bishop Alan's glorious garden in St Albans at a thank you for Garden House Hospice volunteers, met the team from Kaotic Angels and the Camera Club at the Carers in Herts tea party and joined the East & North Herts Hospitals Charity celebration at Luton Hoo.
Watching the Prince’s Trust Team 21 hand back the renovated garden to the Isabel Hospice, so proud of their work, was amazing. Finally, out of county with the Lord-Lieutenant to join Bedfordshire’s Lord-Lieutenant and High Sheriff at Bassingbourn Barracks for the presentation of Jubilee medals to the adult volunteers.
All that was still in the first two weeks of June, with lots more to come!
The Old Palace at Hatfield House was the setting for the Herts Law Society Annual Dinner, where awards were given and newly qualified solicitors were welcomed.
Then Stevenage Day on Sunday, a fantastic event run by the Stevenage Borough Council, where I lit the Jubilee beacon, met the Stevenage FC mascot and chatted to the enthusiastic Stevenage police cadets. A “ridealong” in the Stevenage first response vehicle saw attending a bike accident, tracking cloned cars and witnessing an arrest of a juvenile. Dashing through the centre of Stevenage with lights and sirens blaring was quite an experience, but this is day to day stuff for our police.
Love Herts Day
Hertfordshire Community Foundation organised a charity tour day for me, starting with Future Living in Hertford, who work tirelessly for the victims of domestic abuse. Then on to Recover in Welwyn Garden City, where they restore unwanted furniture while restoring the lives of the vulnerable. Resolve in Hatfield provide a home and help for those trying to beat their addictions, whilst attracting the community to their Sparks Café with its fabulous food. Last stop was The Living Room in Stevenage to chat with those recovering from addiction.
June draws to a close (nearly)
Under Sheriff Richard Taylor represented me at the flag raising event at County Hall in Hertford, where tribute was paid to those in the Armed Forces in Hertfordshire and beyond.
A visit to Wheathampstead for the anniversary concert by local schools to celebrate 300 years of the James Marshall Foundation, an Isabel Hospice tea party to celebrate 40 years and the Buntingford Mayor’s Civic Service came thick and fast.
The magnificent St Albans pilgrimage procession was back, winding its way through the city to the Cathedral for an enactment of Alban’s execution 1,717 years ago. Hertfordshire pageantry at its best!
Last week in June
Herts Inclusive Theatre builds confidence and skills in vulnerable children and adults through drama and music. Their performances and awards ceremony were brilliant!
Hearing from the dedicated team at Herts Young Homeless about their invaluable work with vulnerable young people was awe-inspiring and was immediately followed by a day in the Watford Family Court.
A cup of tea in the House of Commons with Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland was a chance to discuss the challenges facing this important Hertfordshire town.
Finally, a visit to Herts Police HQ for their first awards ceremony after Covid. Recognising long service, bravery and acts of humanity is vital, these heroes really do keep Hertfordshire safe.
June has been hectic, varied, instructive and fun. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will remain in our memories for ever and recognising the work of Hertfordshire’s volunteers, communities and the police has been an honour. I have learned so much about the selfless help given by the community to the vulnerable here in Hertfordshire and I discover new aspects of this wonderful county every day. I can’t wait to see what July might bring!