James with Cayden
I visited YSS https://www.yss.org.uk/our-work-in-herefordshire at HVOSS (No Wrong Door) in their new premises at 1 Union Walk, Hereford. We followed a visit by the charity’s Patron, The Princess Royal, who had been there on 8th November.
The Chairman, David Chantler OBE, introduced Lucy and me to the wide range of services provided and to other senior members of the resident team, including Catherine Kevis, the Chief Executive. We also met two of the young people who are currently being helped by YSS.
YSS enables people who face significant life challenges to feel safe, have the chance to thrive and to realise their potential. They provide a wide variety of mainly community-focused support for people and are often described as the ‘glue’ between those at risk of social isolation and the wider mainstream society. Their programmes include National Careers Service guidance, Wellbeing, a Peer Leadership programme, Herefordshire LGBTQ+ youth group and Creative Thinking, but there is a total of 33 partners working with YSS, so the variety is huge.
As Herefordshire is thinly populated in the rural areas and access to services is often difficult, YSS needs greater resources to be able to respond effectively to all the cases referred to them by the Police, social services, schools etc. They will be looking to encourage more local businesses to support their work.
They clearly do excellent work, and we are very fortunate to have them in our county.
I attended this annual service on 17th November. It is held in conjunction with Road Peace http://www.roadpeace.org/ as an event of remembrance and hope for those affected by road traffic accidents and was led by the Dean of Hereford, Michael Tavinor, and organised by the Revd. Preb. Jill Talbot Ponsonby. The Lord Lieutenant was represented by Bob Tabor DL, also a former High Sheriff, and Superintendent Sue Thomas, the policing commander for Herefordshire also attended.
It was a solemn and moving occasion, with many who were bereaved as a result of accidents on the road in the congregation. The address was given by The Revd. Canon John Simpson.
The HGTA http://www.hwgta.org/ is the champion of vocational training in Herefordshire, with over 550 apprentices training with companies where they learn engineering, business administration, customer service, accountancy. Others can also attend courses on management, leadership and first aid, so that a total of 2000 people have passed through 250 different courses in the last 12 months.
The Annual Awards evening was held on 13th November at the Courtyard and was very well attended by apprentices, their families, families and employers. The Chairman, David Goldsmith, and Chief Executive, Nigel Morgan, hosted the event, and the guest speaker was the explorer, Belinda Kirk http://www.belindakirk.com/ There was a real buzz at the reception beforehand, and everyone seemed very enthusiastic about the excellent training offered and the achievements.
The HGTA offers a top-class service across Herefordshire and clearly deserves its OFSTED Outstanding rating.
On 11th November, I was invited to Lady Hawkins School, Kington, to be part of the unveiling ceremony of large carved limestone rock, erected in front of the school as a memorial to pupils from the school who had died in wars from 1914 to date. I shared the unveiling with Bob Widdowson, the Mayor of Kington.
The school assembled with some older pupils from the primary school, and a short service was held, during which the names of the fallen were read out. They are commemorated by name in several sandstone slabs that form a pathway up to the memorial, next to which is also a carved stone seat.
The memorial project was the idea of Nic Dinsdale, a long-serving history master at the school, and was supported by the school Governors and Headteacher, Paul Jennings. Nic leads school tours to battle fields in Belgium and France where some of the fallen were in action. Local firms were involved in the p[roject, and a birch tree, given by the Banks family, was planted next to the memorial.
It was a moving and well-organised occasion and the culmination of much hard work by the team involved, a tribute to them and the generous local firms and individuals who made it possible.
Lucy & I attended the Hereford city Remembrance Service and Parade at the city war memorial on 10th November. The Act of Remembrance was led by Col. Andy Taylor OBE DL, the Rifles County Colonel. Lord Lieutenant was represented by Bob Tabor DL, who laid the first wreath at the end of the two minutes’ silence and the reveille. Others followed, representing the full range of the armed services, the emergency services, the Royal British Legion and many others.
After the service, which was led by the Revd Andy Morgan, the assembled servicemen and women marched up St Owen Street and dismissed. It was a dignified and well-managed event, an appropriate tribute to those who had given their lives in wars.
Sir David Calvert-Smith
His Honour Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins QC and I co-hosted the annual High Sheriff’s lecture on 8th November in the Shire Hall. It was largely organised by Erica Manley, Event Coordinator and Fundraiser at Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust https://www.herefordcathedral.org/hereford-cathedral-perpetual-trust with the ticket proceeds from nearly 90 guests divided between the Trust and the Herefordshire Community Foundation www.herefordshirecf.org
Our guest speaker was Sir David Calvert-Smith https://www.qebholliswhiteman.co.uk/site/people/profile/david.calvert-smith who reflected modestly on his very distinguished career, including as an advocate, judge, Director of Public Prosecutions and latterly Chairman of the Parole Board England and Wales.
His talk prompted a number of questions and we were very grateful that he gave up his time to be with us and give us so many insights into his fifty years in crime, as it were.
The Mayor of Ross, Councillor Jane Roberts, and her Deputy, Councillor Daniel Lister, invited the Prince of Wales to mark the start of a year to mark the 250th anniversary of the Revd William Gilpin’s promotion of two-day package tours down the Wye to Chepstow. The official reception party included the Lord Lieutenant, the Chairman and the Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council. The Wye Valley AONB https://www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk/ are supporting the year’s activities and the AONB Manager, Andrew Blake, asked the Prince was to light a torch which was used to light a beacon in the Prospect Gardens next to St Mary’s Church.
There were many stalls set up by local charities, which the Prince visited to the sound of the local brass band and choir. He also saw food and drink stalls and an art exhibition in the Market Hall, from where he waved to the crowd as the Queen had in her visit in 1957. He met veterans and school children before departing after a busy and successful visit, with a happy and lively atmosphere.
High Sheriffs in our region were invited by Chris Loughran, High Sheriff of the West Midlands 2018-2019, to meet on 29th October to discuss our roles and how we could work together and generally add value to society in our different counties. We assembled at St Mary’s College, Oscott, Sutton Coldfield, a fine Victorian building, with plenty of space for over twenty attendees.
After in introduction from Canon David Oakley, the rector, we had a range of short talks from our Chairman, Hugh Tollemache, Dame Christine Braddock, His Honour Mel Inman, Honorary Recorder of Birmingham and High Sheriffs in post who shared different aspects of their experience. As most of the High Sheriffs in nomination were present, it was a very useful programme, giving them insights into the challenges and opportunities they would have in their year in office.
We were particularly encouraged to look for candidates for the annual National Crimebeat awards: http://www.national-crimebeat.com/prizes/ . Crimebeat is The Youth Crime Prevention Charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association of England & Wales, something I will now be contacting local schools to discuss.
29th October 2019
Lucy and I attended the mayor making ceremony in Hereford City Hall on 13th May when Councillor Kath Hey was made 638th Mayor of Hereford.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Councillors and council officials as well as other mayors from the market towns and County Councillors. The Council staff were attired in their very smart uniforms, lending a note of pomp and dignity to the ceremony. Speakers paid tribute to the hard work and success of Councillor Sue Boulter, the retiring Mayor, as well as to the work Kath had done in her lead up to office.
The new Mayor will be supporting the CLD Trust https://www.thecldtrust.org/ and the Bereavement Support Service http://www.phoenixbereavement.org during her year of office. It was an honour to attend her event, and I hope there will be opportunities for me to attend and support other Hereford Council events in an official capacity.
One of the current Mayor of Hereford’s last official duties before handing over to her successor was to open the May Fair on 7th May. I was delighted to attend, having last been to the Fair as a child, and to witness the ceremony involved.
We processed with several civic dignitaries from the Town Hall to the cathedral close. The group included the Mayors of Neath, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea and the deputy Mayor of Haverfordwest as well as mayors from the market towns of Herefordshire and the Mayor of Gloucester, all of whom are traditionally invited to this event at one of the first fairs to open in the season. The event was co-hosted by Dean Deakin, chairman of the South Wales and Northern Ireland section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.
On arrival and after getting up into the horse-drawn trailer provided by Weston’s Cider, Sue Boulter, the Mayor of Hereford, the Bishop and Brian Wilcox, the Chairman of the Herefordshire Council (until the recent elections) performed an ancient ceremony during which the Bishop and Brian Wilcox accepted a quantity of bagged wheat, measured in bushels, as a fee for allowing the fair to be held on the streets of Hereford. It was performed with a combination of dignity and humour, but we were assured that money had also changed hands.
We toured the fair and ventured onto several rides as guests of the showmen. There was a great atmosphere and growing crowds. It was good to see a tradition being upheld as a way of marking the start of the fair, which seems popular in the city as it brings visitors into the centre.