It is a great honour to have been chosen to serve as High Sheriff of Shropshire. My aim will be to carry on the excellent work done by my predecessors.
I took office on 31st March 2017 and made my Declaration as High Sheriff at the Church of St John the Baptist in Whittington. I am very grateful to be supported by my wife Veronica, my Under Sheriff Madeleine Butcher and my Chaplain The Reverend Prebendary David North.
The office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in the country after the monarchy. It was an important office created under the Anglo-Saxon kings and was retained by the Normans after the Conquest. Today the former extensive military powers which the office enjoyed have gone and the role now involves a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions. Most importantly, the role is voluntary, unfunded and non-political. As a recent High Sheriff in Norfolk, looking back on her time in office, commented, one of the functions of the High Sheriff is to “Shine a light into dark corners and make those who can do some good aware!”, and that is a role that I intend to perform.
Turning then to the year ahead, I would like to shine a spot-light onto rural isolation. By that I mean that, as a sparsely inhabited county, many inhabitants of Shropshire inevitably suffer from the effects of rural isolation. Isolation can affect many different groups of people, including of course the elderly and can be particularly acute amongst the farming community. I therefore aim to highlight the work of those who alleviate rural isolation, with a particular focus on the farming community.