After the lovely installation ceremony at my local church so beautifully decorated with gorgeous flowers and the tea afterwards at the village pub with dignitaries, and with family and friends in attendance, it was time to focus on the role of High Sheriff.

A fabulous Sunday morning at 7 Academy of Performing Arts

My first official outing as the new High Sheriff of Shropshire was to the 7 Academy of dance and performance in Madeley to cut the ribbon at their new premises.

What an incredible place full with young people dancing and singing at 9.45am on a Sunday morning. Mark and I watched enthralled as we were treated to some amazing dancing – great choreography- and singing by the students.

It was wonderful to meet the 7 Academy team and a former pupil who is now appearing in blockbuster movies as a dancer and singer.

Learning more about the amazing work of the Armed Forces Covenant

On Monday, after attending a fascinating training course delivered by West Mercia Police on raising awareness on child vulnerability, I met with Sean and Sarah from Shropshire Council’s Armed Forces Covenant small team who briefed me on their outreach work across the county. The work they do supporting our veterans, and military families is so important and it was a pleasure to meet with them and learn more.

Taking part in a fundraising quiz for the Mascular Society

Wednesday saw Mark and I attend a quiz raising funds for the Macular Society. We have a couple of friends who have been diagnosed with this cruel and often isolating disease. More than 300 people are diagnosed with Macular disease every day, and as yet there is no cure. It is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK and can affect people of any age, even children. The quiz had been organised by the amazing Jan Dodd who ran the London Marathon on Sunday with her daughter Emma to raise even more funds for the charity.

The launch of the National Hub for Social Innovation and Technology

Thursday saw me in Wolverhampton, not on High Sheriff duties, but attending and speaking at the launch of the National Hub for Social Innovation and Technology hosted by the University of Wolverhampton – who of course have their innovation centre and the Marches Centre for Excellence in Health and Care at their Priorslee Campus in Telford.

Meeting organisations that support those with mental health needs

Friday morning and it was off to Shrewsbury to attend the relaunch of the Shropshire Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly’s Mental Health Forum.

This was the first in person meeting since pre pandemic of this group of representatives from the organisations that support and provide services to those with mental health needs across the county. It was fascinating to listen to and learn more about what services are available.

An interview with BBC Radio Shropshire

I then went up to BBC Radio Shropshire for a live interview with the brilliant Mark Elliott. I’m always nervous about doing interviews but he and the BBC Radio Shropshire team were great. Community radio is essential in rural counties such as Shropshire.

An enjoyable Friday evening at Cound Art Exhibition

Finally on Friday, Mark and I attended the opening night of the Cound Art Exhibition. It was excellent value for the ticket price – and yes, the High Sheriff does pay to attend ticketed events! The quality of the art work was splendid, and it was lovely to see the village come together to put on this fund raising event. So much work had bene put in by the organising committee. Thank you!

We then popped back on Sunday to collect a painting we purchased and as a real bonus enjoyed a very welcome cup of tea and piece of cake too!

St. George’s Day celebrations

It was great to see the crowds turn out to watch the Newport St. George’s Day parade on Saturday morning and support the High Sheriff’s Consort morris dance through the centre of this fabulous market town.

Coming up this week…

So, a gentle start to my Shrieval Year, with lots to look forward to this week including a visit to Ellesmere and Market Drayton, attending a citizenship ceremony and an BEM investiture, and then down to South Shropshire later in the week to visit a primary school. I will be in Whitchurch to see an amazing and world leading Shropshire company to see them receive their Queen’s Award for Enterprise and I will be attending a concert by one of Shropshire’s leading brass bands over the weekend.