The County was honoured by the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex and was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant, the Dowager Countess of Darnley, who then presented HRH to a number of county dignitaries and their partners.
Air Vice Marshall Mike Smart escorted HRH to the “Weeping Window” display of ceramic poppies that had been set up as a cascade from a high window on a tower to the East of the North door of Hereford Cathedral. The poppies were the same as were on display at the Tower Of London in 2017 to commemorate the fallen of the First World War and made a powerful impression on the viewer.
HRH was then introduced to a group of former munition workers at the munitions factory in Rotherwas that was still in production until well after the second world war finished. I was told some hair raising stories told with remarkable understatement. https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/info/200164/herefordshire_archive_and_records_centre/273/rotherwas_munitions_project/2
HRH was also shown the new SAS Memorial Window, ‘Ascension’, a beautiful new addition to our Cathedral. http://www.sasmemorial.co.uk/ HRH was presented with a (delicious looking) hamper of Herefordshire produce by Mrs Dorothy Knight, a former munitions worker now aged 96. I had talked to her beforehand and was struck by the way she talked about her experiences.
HRH was escorted across the road to the Hereford Museum to see the “Herefordshire in the Great War” exhibition as well as artwork by Herefordshire artist, Brian Hatton, a man of remarkable talent from Hereford, born in 1887 and, tragically killed in 1916. In his short 39 years of life, he produced over 1,000 art works. One can’t help but reflect on what might have been. HRH also met a group of children who had won prizes for their artwork remembering the First World War and met the sponsors of the prizes, former High Sheriff, Bob Tabor and his wife Bea. HRH was also given a briefing on the work of Caplor Horizons in Commonwealth Countries. https://www.caplorhorizons.org/
HRH was then taken to the Hereford Cider Museum, formerly a Bulmer site but dedicated to all cider making in the county where we all enjoyed tours of the Museum. We also all enjoyed a good lunch. Finally, HRH was given a briefing of the work and continuity of the Brightspace Foundation. https://www.brightspacefoundation.org.uk/.
HRH then made her departure.
The High Sheriff was asked to be dressed in full 18th century Court Dress for this great fun occasion. Bromyard have devised a Heritage trail from the Heritage Centre via St. Peter’s Church, the Alms houses and the Falcon Hotel (that was part of the carrier/coach and mail system when the horse was the only alterative to ones feet), past the most beautiful black and white houses and important refreshment opportunities to end at the Petty Bridge Toll House. www.VisitBromyard.org.uk.
Bromyard was in festive mode. Before the High Sheriff cut the ribbon on the Trail, everyone was entertained by the Belle d’Vain Morris dancers “ranting” the Trail. I recognised the Scottish dance tune that was being played but misremembered its name in the speech. Luckily few spotted it. We met a Highwayman (a number of times) but I was better armed than he.
I was escorted by Cadet Stephen Gow, who ushered Laura and me to where we should be at any time and was clearly anxious when we dawdled. He did a brilliant job and his boots shone like mirrors. A credit to the Cadet Force.
Thanks are owed to Jan Scrine, the Mayoress of Bromyard and Winslow, who made the Heritage trail happen, to Fred Clarke, the Mayor, and the Heritage lottery fund who helped pay for the Trail information boards.
Laura and I attended the declaration ceremony of David Price as High Sheriff of Powys at the Strand Hall in Builth Wells. Each Bailiwick does these ceremonies a little differently but all require the incoming High Sheriff to swear an oath written in English that is not entirely clear. Before I was swore my own oath at the Herefordshire ceremony on 13th April, Laura and I had attended the Declarations of Rhoddy Swire as High Sheriff for Shropshire, Cassian Roberts for Worcestershire and Charles Martell for Gloucestershire (so al our neighbours except Gwent).
The outgoing High Sheriff of Powys, Susan Thompson, reflected on her year in office. His Honour, Judge Richard Twomlow addressed us on our ancient office and the new High Sheriff responded and talked about his hopes for the year.
At the end, a member of the audience stood up, microphone in hand and burst into song. Then another. Then another and finally the new High Sheriff himself. These were the Young Farmers with whom David is much involved. The High Sheriff of Shropshire, Rhoddy Swire was also there with Georgina, his wife and we reflected whether this should be a tradition that we should introduce to our Counties. The jury is out.
We were treated to an excellent lunch afterwards.
The High Sheriff attended a function aimed at raising awareness in the local business community of this wonderful charity which is “dedicated to providing chances for people of all ages and abilities to make all sorts of music together, because it is one of the most powerful ways to improve people’s lives and well-being, and the life of their communities” – to quote their web-site. http://www.musicpool.org.uk/
We were addressed by Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire and a Patron of the charity, followed by James Miller, Chairman of the Charity who both told us more about the charity.
We were then addressed by Karen Usher DL, who is a key member of the team that is bringing a new university to Hereford and Herefordshire. It is in the High Sheriff’s remit to promote the County and I view the success of this project as crucial to the healthy future of Herefordshire. It will bring opportunities and jobs to the area and arrest the net exodus of young people from the County. http://nmite.org.uk/.
It was encouraging to be told that it is never too late to take up an instrument and there were people there of similar age to the High Sheriff to prove it! Music makes creative people and team workers, all of which we badly need. Anyone reading this, please support them.
Laura and I attended the celebration of the 1st Anniversary of the cooperation agreement between Hope Support Services and St. Michael’s Hospice.
Hope Support Services, http://www.hopesupport.org.uk/, is a charity that started in Herefordshire but aims to develop nationally. It offers support serves to young people who have a loved one who is seriously ill or worse. The service is given by other young people, most of whom have been through a similar experience. They have a physical presence in Herefordshire and Gloucester and on-line coverage in 13 other areas all over the UK. As their name suggests, they bring hope where there is otherwise bewilderment and despair.
St. Michael Hospice is in Bartestree, just outside Hereford. http://www.st-michaels-hospice.org.uk/. They offer both day care in the home and hospital care for those with terminal illnesses. It is very close to my heart having looked after my Mother so well.
It is easy to imagine the difficulties faced by young people who may either be faced with close relations with terminal illnesses or, indeed, be faced with it themselves. Therefore, it is perfect for the two charities to be working together.
Service of Dedication to Commemorate the Fallen of the Falklands War of 1982, Ross-on-Wye on 14th April
The High Sheriff attended the service of dedication to commemorate the Fallen of the Falklands War in 1982.
Three soldiers are remembered.
Private Timothy Jones, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Guardsman Gareth Griffiths, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards
Guardsman Colin Parsons, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
The service took place in the Market Place where those assembled were welcomed by Air Commodore Vivian Warrington OBE, President of the Ross-on-Wye and District Royal British Legion. The service was lead by the Revd. Sarah Jones, Rector of Ross-on-Wye. A moving tribute was given by Trevor Bradshaw, a comrade of Private Jenkins. The Exhortation and Kohima was made by Graham Aplin, Chairman of the Ross-on-Wye and District Royal British Legion. Gordon Mather MM, Chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association read a prayer. Finally, Major Patrick Darling DL, on behalf of The Dowager Countess of Darnley, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, thanked all who attended, those who contributed to the memorial and those who worked so hard to make the day a success.
The High Sheriff was accompanied by his Brother, Michael Hone, who has served in the Falkland Islands with the Coldstream Guards just after the war had ended.
The day was a moving start to the year in office.
On 13th April in the High Court in Hereford, Thomas Nathaniel Hone made his declaration to take over the role of High Sheriff of Herefordshire from the Reverend Lady Lisvane in front of the Right Honourable Sir Andrew McFarlane and many distinguished witnesses.