It is a great honour and a privilege to have been chosen to serve as Shropshire’s High Sheriff for the year 2020-21. In no way do I underestimate the demands and challenges of the year ahead and I hope to do justice to the role.
In recent weeks we have been hugely impacted by COVID-19. These are unprecedented times for us all; it has hit hard and fast and there are many individuals, businesses and families in Shropshire who will need support through the health and economic uncertainty. It is not going to be easy and one of my first jobs as High Sheriff of Shropshire will be to offer my help and support however and wherever I can. A collective effort of decency, compassion and kindness are going to be crucial and there is a lot of goodwill out there.
I took office as High Sheriff of Shropshire on 3rd April 2020 and I am very grateful to be supported by my husband Mark, my Under Sheriff Madeleine Butcher and my Chaplain The Reverend Matthew Stafford.
The office of High Sheriff is an independent, non-political, Royal appointment for a single year. It’s the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown and it can be traced back over 1,000 years when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the King for the maintenance of law and order in the county and for collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Over time, the role has obviously changed a great deal and today (whilst supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements) it can be summarised as follows:
- To uphold and enhance the ancient office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to the county during the year in office
- To lend active support to the principal organs of the constitution within their county – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups
- To ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges; to attend on them at court and to offer them hospitality
- To support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate
- To take an active part in supporting voluntary organisations within the County
Having for the last 20 years served as a local Magistrate in the County, I am very aware of (and have seen first-hand) society’s diverse and complex issues. Therefore, the focus during my shrieval year will be mainly (but not exclusively) on three of these; domestic abuse, addiction and child poverty & deprivation – not easy subjects but, sadly, all very real in Shropshire! All of which will no doubt be accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic.
It is my intention to support, encourage and recognise the statutory organisations, charities, voluntary groups and individuals who work to support and maintain the fabric of our society.
Whilst I will carry out my legal and ceremonial duties with the utmost diligence and vigour, I would also like to raise the profile of the role of High Sheriff in Shropshire to ensure its continuing relevance in our ever changing world.
I am looking forward to the opportunities, challenges and experiences ahead of me and bringing people together to make a real and positive difference in and around our wonderful County.
As I was told at the start of my shrieval journey ‘you will have stardust for 12 months’ and I fully intend sprinkling it (when the time is right)!!
Please get in touch with me if you have an organisation or charity you would like me to contact/visit or you know someone in the community who deserves special recognition.
M: 07989 387343