Anne Frank Memorial Day Service – Saturday 9th June


We were invited to attend a memorial service for Anne Frank which took place at Saxon Hall, Hereford as part of a Jewish religious service for the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Communities. Most of the service was conducted by Rabbi Anna Gerrard in the hall but the part dedicated to Anne Frank took place outside around the memorial tree. For a number of us, it was our first experience of a Jewish service but much was familiar. Thirty Boys from Monmouth Boy’s Prep School sang expertly.

The Deputy Mayor of Hereford, Kath Hey and Canon  Anna Nugent from Hereford Cathedral also attended.

It was a gathering of different traditions gathering to celebrate our common humanity.

Hereford Times report

Herefordshire Jewish Community

Saxon Hall

Visit to Offices of Encore Enterprises – Wednesday 6th June

Having attended the Spring concert of the Herefordshire Schools Brass and Concert Bands (see earlier report), I was keen to know more about music in Hereford schools.

So I visited their office on June 6th at Lugwardine Court, outside Hereford and was told more about what they do by Cliff Woollard, Managing Director and Roger Wiebkin , Learning and development Manager. In effect, the Local Education Authority have outsourced what was the Herefordshire Music Service to Encore that was specially set up to take over the job. This struck me as an example of outsourcing at its best with lots of scope for innovative thinking.

It would be hard to over-estimate the importance of music in the upbringing of our young people. Not only can it give great individual satisfaction but it brings people together to work as a team. There is not more demanding need to work as a team than an orchestra!

Here is a link to their web-site again.

Installation of the Mayor of Ross-on-Wye – Monday 4th June

Councillor Harry Bramer was installed as the new Mayor of Ross, the past Mayor, Nigel Gibbs having come to the end of his Mayoral Year.

The Rector for Ross-on-Wye led the assembly in prayer. The Town Clerk formally announced the election of Councillor Bramer as Mayor and the new Mayor repeated his Declaration of Office.

While the Mayor left the room to be robed and be presented with his Chain of Office, Mrs Josie O’Driscoll sang to the assembled company (beautifully).

On his return, the Mayor announced his consort, Ms Marie Ward and presented her with her Chain of Office and a bouquet.

The Past Mayor presented his Mayoress, Mrs Gill Gibbs with another bouquet and made a speech summing up his year in office. He presented a cheque to Mrs Mary Seldon, Herefordshire Fundraising Manager for the Midlands Air Ambulance, his chosen charity, who gave a speech of thanks. Tokens of thanks were given to the Town Clerk, Mrs Sarah Robson and the Mayor’s Officer, Mrs Joanne Skelton.

The Mayor outlines his objectives for the year and named his sponsored charity as Papyrus, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. For more information, please click here.

We then joined the Mayor and his Consort for refreshments.

Herefordshire Probation Service Forum – Monday 4th June

The High Sheriff was invited to attend this forum where Celia Cundale JP, chair of the Herefordshire Forum introduced two speakers from the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC).

The Police gave an update on the context of violent crime in Hereford City. Sadly drugs are a big driver.

CRC gave a presentation on the RESOLVE programme to address violent behaviour. Information on this programme can be found at this link as part of broader information on the Programmes and Services available for offenders in the West Mercia region including Herefordshire.

Much of the forum was specific to magistrates who are faced with dealing with a wide range of offences. There are many options open to try to prevent reoffending, with varying degrees of success.

1,000 years ago, the Sheriff dealt with all these issues himself and, one suspects, somewhat more crudely. Thank goodness we have moved on to a more compassionate era.

Visit to The Old Bailey – Thursday 31st May

The Sheriffs of the City of London have started a new tradition, one to be encouraged, of asking all the Sheriffs of England and Wales (55 of them) and their partners to a reception at the Old Bailey, the very centre of the criminal justice system where the most notorious trails have been held. Its formal name is “The Central Criminal Court” (from 1834). It is first mentioned as a court in 1585. It stood next to the dreaded Newgate Prison which seems to date from 1188 and remained in use until 1902.

The Old Bailey originated as the session house of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London and of Middlesex. It was built from a gift from Richard (Dick of legend) Whittington as part of improvements to the gaol, destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt in 1674.

In 1856, a crime committed in Staffordshire was so notorious that there were fears for a fair trial in that county and an Act of Parliament was passed to allow it to be brought to the Old Bailey. Since then, notorious trials have often been brought to London for this reason.

On the occasion of our visit, having been very well looked after by Alderman and Sheriff Timothy Hailes JP and Sheriff Neil Redcliffe, we were allowed in to see the very newly restored Court number I, the scene of many famous cases.

SHYPP “If you walked a mile in my shoes” performance at the Courtyard, Hereford – Wednesday 23rd May

SHYPP – Supported Housing for Young People Project – does vital work. Its formal mission is “to provide 16-25 year olds across Herefordshire with housing, training and employment opportunities.” Although housing is the bedrock of what they do, they work with young people who find themselves in often dreadful circumstances with little understanding of how to climb out and give them the training and confidence to do just that.

This confidence was on display at this performance where a number of performers told their own real live story in music and poetry and home made film. It was very professional – requiring some slick cueing between performances – done faultlessly.  It was divided into four sections 1) If you walked a mile in my shoes 2)Emotions and Experiences 3) Questions and 4) Survival.  It was very moving and well done all who made it happen.

For more information on SHYPP, go to this link.

The West Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets AGM – Tuesday 22nd May

The West Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association covers the activities of these forces in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. An almost complete set of Lord Lieutenants and High Sheriffs gathered to join the senior members of these forces at the Staffordshire County Showground. The President , Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Mr Ian Dudson CBE presided.

Prior to Tudor times, Sheriffs were responsible for the raising of Militias. For some reason (possibly due to the collapse of the old feudal system), Henry VIII first appointed Lord Lieutenants to raise militias against external threats that, in those days, was against Scotland and France. The system became more formalised under Elizabeth I with the threat from Spain. It was not until 1921 that Lord Lieutenants lost their right to call upon able-bodied men to fight when needed. Therefore, it is the Lieutenancy of a County that is most directly involved with the armed forces.

Sheriffs retained the power to raise a “Posse Comitatus” which gave powers to the Sheriff to demand help in the arrest of felons within his bailiwick. this power, surprisingly, was not formally removed until the Criminal Law Act 1967 having been codified in the Sheriff’s Act 1887. Many states in the United States still retain the power.

It was good for the High Sheriffs to understand better what is happening in the modern day militia. As elsewhere, they are under financial pressure but are highly active and resourceful. For more information on the West Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, please click on the link.


Installation of the 637th Mayor of Hereford – Monday 21st May

The Office of High Sheriff is not much older than that of Mayor of Hereford. The Charter granted to Hereford in 1189 specifically says “So that no Sheriff of ours shall intrude in any wise upon them concerning any plea, quarrel or other thing related to the aforementioned town.”

The office of “The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Hereford” gets its first mention under a Charter granted by Richard II in 15th November 1383, an unusual title which is a great Honour for the city.

Therefore, it was very good of the Mayor of Hereford elect to invite said Sheriff to her Installation. The new Mayor, Sue Boulter takes over from Sharon Michael after a successful year.

With all that practise, it is, perhaps, not surprising that Hereford does these occasions particularly well.


Royal Visit – HRH Princess Alexandra – Thursday 17th May

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra. The visit started at St. Michael’s Hospice, Bartestree. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant presented a number of dignitaries and some of St. Michael’s major donors before being given a tour of the Hospice which has recently been greatly expanded and changed. HRH met a number of patients, volunteers, staff and supporters. The Hospice Choir gave a short recital. HRH presented a Life Time Patron Award to two of the Hospices Founders – Dr. Richard Miller and Dr. Jeffery Kramer.

HRH then visited I & JL Brown Limited, Whitestone. A number of management and staff were presented to HRH and there followed a tour of the factory where much beautiful furniture is being made.

After tea, HRH departed.

Royal Visit – HRH The Duke of Gloucester – Thursday 10th May

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The visit started at Lucton School, Leominster. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant presented a number of dignitaries to HRH before HRH laid a wreath at the school’s war memorial. HRH then took the salute and inspected the School Cadets before awarding a number of prizes to particularly distinguished Cadets. HRH then toured a number of demonstration stands relating to cadet activities.

After lunch, HRH visited Leominster Priory. After a number of presentations of representatives of Leominster Town Council, the Priory, the organisers of the forthcoming choral recital and the Leominster Medieval Pageant, we heard a beautiful recital by a combined local school and community choir.

HRH was escorted past the Verdun Oak to Grange Court, where a number of people involved with the Grange were presented to HRH before being a tour. Refreshments were served by representatives of MiEnterprise. HRH viewed a display by Leominster in Stitches.

The Lord Lieutenant presented Mr Mike Thornhill MBE and said a few words before Mr. Thornhill was presented with his MBE by HRH.

HRH was escorted to Corn Square where he was announced by the Town Crier. A number of presentations were made and HRH was given a tour of the exhibition area in the Tourist Information Centre. The Mayor then escorted HRH through the market stalls set up by “Community Expo” covering a number of community groups and support organisations.

HRH visited Brightwells, the auctioneers. Various presentations were made and HRH visited the Fine Arts Section, the Vehicle Auction room and the Classic Car showroom. The High Sheriff particularly enjoyed these last two but left empty handed.

After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit, the Royal party left the County.