A service of Remembrance & Hope for those affected by Road Traffic Accidents – 18th November 2018

All too often, we read of a dreadful car accident in Herefordshire and elsewhere, with many killed or injured and many other left dealing with the consequences – grief, caring for the long term injuries, both physical and mental. Previous engagements have included events dedicated to trying to prevent these accidents. A previous High Sheriff focused on the issue. Too many people in our community are living with the aftermath.

As its title suggests, this service has two aims. To Remember those who have died in such tragic circumstances. To bring Hope to those living with the consequences and help them come to terms with the awful twist of fate that has befallen them.

God’s world is a multifaceted creation. It is capable of creating tragedy, from a human point of view, as circumstances come together to set the scene for disaster, sometimes but not always the result of human folly. It is also a creation of quite stunning beauty and we are uplifted, strengthened and inspired. The Cathedral offers a window into this aspect of God’s creation and offers the hope that  those who have gone before us are ultimately sharing in it.

Hopefully, those attended left with a lighter step than when they arrived. We did.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service – Herefordshire Medals and Awards Ceremony – 16th November 2018

Many members of the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service gathered, with their families, at the Town Hall, in Hereford for their annual medals and awards ceremony.

The Fire Brigade’s Long Service and Good Conduct Medal is awarded by Her Majesty the Queen to honour those who have given twenty years meritorious service. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, the Dowager Countess of Darnley, on behalf of Her Majesty, presented awards to five recipients.

Councillor Roger Phillips, who is Chairman of the Fire Authority, gave awards to two recipients who had serves a magnificent thirty years.

The High Sheriff of Herefordshire presented an award and certificate to the Community Volunteer of the Year. Those in this role, amongst other activities, have played an important part in the reduction, over the past decade or so, in the number of fires and resulting injuries and fatalities.

The Chief Fire Officer, Nathan Travis, presented a number of awards, including two very impressive Silver Axes to the Top Wholetime Recruit of the year, Top Retained Duty System recruit of the year, and Certificates of Congratulations to 13 members of the force who had performed their duty exceptionally well.

Finally, not content with rendering great service to the community themselves, the Firefighters raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity. Councillor Phillips gave an award to the Fire Station that had made an outstanding contribution. This year it was Hereford Fire Station.

The Community owes these men and women a great debt of gratitude.



HOPE AGM celebration evening – 14th November 2018

HOPE Support Services held their AGM at the Chase Hotel. Actually, the formal part of the meeting was held quietly beforehand and we were given an inspiring show by the young people who deliver support to young people who have a close family member with a life threatening illness.  They work very closely with St. Michael’s Hospice, near Hereford. Here is a video on the St. Michael’s Web-site. made by HOPE.

To find out more about this superb charity, click here.

As an example of a group of people, mostly young adults, prepared to work selflessly to help others in dire distress, this group cannot be beaten.

HVOSS AGM – 14th November 2018

The Herefordshire Voluntary Organisations Support Service (HVOSS) held its AGM at the Kindle Centre, Hereford. HVOSS sits at the centre of Voluntary organisations in Herefordshire providing help, advise and services. The meeting was welcomed by Lynda Wilcox, Chair of HVOSS and Will Lindesay, Chief Executive told us about the year gone by and plans for the future.

Here is a link to their web-site. Every voluntary organisation in Herefordshire should be a member.

A number of HVOSS members gave presentations.

No Wrong Door

Community Wheels

Talent Match

Volunteer Bureau

Social Prescribing

Building Better Opportunities

A lot of people doing great work for others. their reward was some very good cakes.


Annual Apprentice Awards Ceremony – 13th November 2018

The Herefordshire Group Training Association, part of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association, work with local companies to run their Apprentice schemes and this was the ceremony to give the awards to those who had passed certain training levels. These included NVQ Level 2, EAL Level 2 Diploma, NVQ level 3 in different aspects of engineering, and up top level 4 in Commerce (accounting, customer service, business and administration, warehousing and storage).

Some special awards were made to students who had particular excelled, often against difficult circumstances. The employers who take part in these programmes were also lauded.

The evening was inspired by the story of the Ocean Brothers, so called because two half Brothers, Dr. Greg Bailey (aged 28) and Jude Massey (aged 19) rowed across the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds for the British Skin Foundation in memory of their late father/step-father who died of skin cancer in 2015. 3,000 miles in 53 days. Much of their equipment failed. though they made light of these set-backs, there must have been times when they thought that they would not survive. Survive they did and told their story in a delightful way. Inspirational. If you feel like giving, click here.

For more information about the Apprentice scheme, click here.

Probation Forum – 13th November 2018

At the previous probation forum, I floundered in a sea of acronyms. This time, a glossary of abbreviations was kindly provided, especially for the High Sheriff.

The forum received reports from the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). Since the last forum, changes to the way that the NPS is structured – in effect, a renationalisation. While changes happen at the top, those who deliver the service keep up their good work.

A presentation on the RESOLVE programme was given. The introduction described this programme as “a moderate intensity cognitive-behavioural group intervention that aims to reduce violence in medium to high risk adult and young male offenders.”. It consists of 22 group sessions and 4 individual sessions, each session lasting 2 1/2 hours – so a considerable commitment on both sides.

It is one of a number of programmes trying to address different types of criminal behaviour. Such programmes are not always successful but simply locking people up for a period certainly does not stop offending on release.

A presentation by ADDACTION was given. ADDACTION is a registered charity helping people with addictions, be it alcohol or drugs. Here is a link to their web-site. Hereford Council have commissioned them to provide substance misuse treatment in Herefordshire. It is a sad fact that their services are so needed and that the judicial system spends so much time dealing with the fall-out of addiction, as does society as a whole.

The meeting was honoured by the presence of Lady Justice Macur, the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales. The High Sheriff had the opportunity to meet beforehand. It is very heartening that such a senior figure is keen to come down to our County, especially in the light of increased centralisation of justice. Here we have a champion of local justice. For more about the role of Senior Presiding Judge, click here.


A Service of Reflection to mark the Centenary of the Armistice and the Restoration of Peace – 11th November 2018

Four years of commemoration of First World War 1914-1918 culminated in this service of Reflection in Hereford Cathedral in the afternoon of 11th November, following the Remembrance Sunday services held all over the County, the Country and the World. It has been interesting to see how interest and a wish to be involved has grown over that four years. We have not wallowed in nostalgia, jingoism or bravado. We have simply remembered the sacrifices that so many made, laying down their lives or suffering the most dreadful physical and mental damage lasting the rest of their lives, including all those directly affected and those who loved them. We owe our freedom to them.

I would urge anyone reading this post to look at the service sheet which they can do here. I cannot do justice to the service in a short description. Armistice Day Service 11.xi.18.

The Silence during which 3,213 poppy leaves fell from the tower gallery was unforgettable.

It seems right to pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to ensure that this important centenary has been marked properly – The Lord Lieutenant and her office, the Chairman of the Council and his office, The Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral and, particularly, The WWI committee, and many others all over the County.


Hereford City Remembrance Service – 11th November 2018

The Right Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Sue Boulter hosted the assembled dignitaries prior to the annual Hereford City Annual Remembrance Day Parade and Service at the War memorial in St. Peter’s Square. An impressive assembly of servicemen and women, and a number of civilian groups drew up under the expert guidance of the Royal British Legion and marched up St. Owen’s Street to assemble around the War Memorial. The service was led by the Reverend Andy Morgan , Rector of St. Peter’s. After the Act of Remembrance, many wreathes were laid and the High Sheriff of Herefordshire, alongside the Chairman of Herefordshire Council, laid wreathes immediately following the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire. The Beatitudes were read (Matthew 5:1-12). The Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, reminded us in powerful word why it is so important to remember. We committed ourselves to work for peace, heal the wounds of war and work for a just future.

There followed a March past with the salute taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire.

Although this morning service did not focus on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending hostilities on the western front in WWI (see next entry), it did provide an added poignancy and there was a large number of people present.

The Lone Piper

Armistice Day began with Lone Pipers in Towns and Cities playing at 6am to commemorate, on this day 100 years ago, the signing of the Armistice in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne, not far from Paris and far behind the front line in Allied Territory. This link tells more of how the Armistice came into being. It was actually signed, it seems, soon after 5am Paris time, to come into effect at 11am Paris time. It is dreadful to contemplate that soldiers were being killed right up to that deadline.

About 30 people, led by the Mayor of Hereford, assembled on Castle Green in Hereford to hear the Piper play the official tune for the occasion followed by a number of well known WWI tunes. The rain, which relented later in the day, lashed down, creating a sobering atmosphere.

Words and Music for Remembrance – 8th November 2018

The Hereford Cathedral School (HCS)presented a programme of music and readings in aid of The Royal British Legion in memory of those who attended the school and died in war since 1914. Seventy- seven boys died in the First World War, forty-four in the Second World War and two in subsequent wars.

Various different HCS choirs performed as well as choirs from the  Bishop Hooper Primary School, Pembridge CE Primary School, St. Paul’s CE Primary School (with two glorious soloists) and Moor Park School. Before the Blessing, they all joined together in Parry’s setting of “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”.

The engagement by today’s young people in the commemoration of the war 100 years ago has been remarkable. This event was a very moving tribute.