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March 24 News

March has been hectic with my trusty mascot ‘Herty’ and I completing our visits to all 46 Hertfordshire libraries, plus a fascinating visit to the archives and local studies library. I will continue to champion libraries - as well as books, a library can be the only local place to offer printing, photocopying, and free WiFi on computers. They run many different activities and are a warm safe space, which is appreciated by many. The opportunity to try VR, computer coding, improve digital skills, make new friends at coffee & chat groups and so much more, and they are often the only time an individual will talk to someone else that day.



Charities

Congratulations to Herts Inclusive Theatre for being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service.  It’s very much deserved and I hope it helps raise the profile of the opportunities they offer to many young people. I was fortunate to unveil a defibrillator as part of the Hearts for Herts scheme and it’s good to see them gradually being installed across the county.  I joined One Vision in Watford for their Awards evening to mark International Women’s Day.  The Swan Youth Project in Berkhamsted had lots going on with fruit tasting and a talent show - poetry, comedy and singing were just some of the excellent performances.



Civic – we enjoyed excellent events with the Chair of North Herts, & the Mayor of Stevenage.



Cathedral – a very moving performance of St Matthew’s Passion.



Royal visits – HRH The Princess Royal visited Livability and I was fortunate to have a tour beforehand, and to meet some of the residents and staff. The Commonwealth Service, held at St Albans Cathedral was attended by TRH’s The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and students from the University of Hertfordshire carried flags from each Commonwealth country.



Legal – HHJ Lana Wood was appointed as the Honorary Recorder of St Albans & District, which is a new appointment and is very much deserved.  One Saturday I joined a mock trial that was held at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court. Magistrates, legal advisers and teachers gave up their morning to listen to schools argue a case for and against – a great experience for the pupils and a very well organised event.



Schools – on World Book Day it was fun to visit Nash Mills Schools in Hemel Hempstead and join their assembly. Every classroom has a book corner, which was great to see.



Police – one of the highlights of the year is presenting Long Service and Bravery awards to members of Hertfordshire Constabulary and this was my last time as High Sheriff.  It is a privilege to meet those who receive awards and their families.



East of England Ambulance – it was fascinating to have a tour of their training site at Welwyn, and to meet and present certificates and epaulettes to four newly qualified paramedics.



Law Lecture – I was very fortunate to have two leading judges from the Central Criminal Court HHJ Sarah Munro KC and HHJ Judy Khan KC speaking at my Law Lecture.  We heard a very honest account of the slow progress of women and people of colour in the judiciary, albeit the Old Bailey now has 8 women and 7 men sitting, and it was inspiring to hear from Judy about her perseverance and commitment to become a barrister, and then apply to the CCC.



Award Ceremony – held at Micklefield Hall we celebrated our 10 winning charities (which we’d had to narrow down from over 30 nominations), and I presented personal awards to six individuals. It was a very special evening in a fabulous location. More details can be found here.



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