High Sheriffs Awards
However hard you try to interrogate previous High Sheriffs and however many sessions you attend at Burghley, you are never going to experience what it is like to be High Sheriff until your Declaration is over and your diary starts to fill up. I was given some good advice which has proved useful: don’t plan too much, just get on the bus at the beginning of your year and get off at the end going wherever the bus takes you, without preconceptions, or fears that you will not be as good as your predecessors. All you can be is yourself.
The journey has taken me to many stops. The Jubilee Weekend was worth the ride, and the Cathedral Service at Chichester and concert in the Brighton Royal Pavilion were excellent. Yet, it was a real privilege to see small English communities, rural and urban, getting together and having fun even if it rained – and it usually did – fun of a traditional English kind.
I enjoyed opening a Jubilee Garden, hauling a Union Jack from a new village sign, setting light to a vast damp bonfire erected in the shape of the the Shard and eventually toasting The Queen while clutching a cardboard facsimile of the Olympic torch - they will stay in my mind as the Diamond Jubilee in East Sussex.
Lighting the beacon at Rottingdean for Jubilee Weekend.
I have been fortunate during my year in experiencing additional responsibilities and pleasures, relating to a bishop’s enthronement, one of our mayors becoming Speaker of the Cinque Ports Parliament and being entertained so generously and warmly by the Benchers of the Inner Temple. I was reminded by one of my predecessors that being High Sheriff is rather like being Dr Who – the actor changes but the show goes on, and I’m sure my successor’s year will be equally special and unique, as each year is a new episode in the shrieval story.
Being made a member of the Fisherman’s Winkle Club at Hastings.
My personal belief is that the High Sheriff’s most important role is to be an ambassador of gratitude to local charities and community groups, and my wife, Karen, and I have found a ready welcome from them all. We were particularly struck by the increasing incidence and complexity of homelessness on the south coast.
Accompanying a St John Ambulance team, we met and spent time with an engaging homeless man from Brighton with real high hopes for improvements in his future. Within weeks of our meeting he was dead, and my wife is now determined to help the charity, Outreach, in any way she can in the years ahead.
A night out with a St John Ambulance homeless team, Brighton.
We have enjoyed hosting simple suppers in our garden for representatives of local charities as well as civic leaders in the hope that they will make useful contacts with and for each other as well as enjoying each other’s company.
The year is hurrying to an end and my energy supplies are depleted by being so uncharacteristically social and affable. I like to think that I will take something from this year that will be useful to the County of East Sussex, which I knew so well but now know even better.
David has been High Sheriff of East Sussex since 26th March 2012 and will hold office for one year. He has greatly enjoyed the privilege of being in office during Diamond Jubilee year attending and celebrating happy occasions throughout the County in honour of Her Majesty
The Queen's 60th anniversary of the Throne.
His background is as a solicitor in the private and public sector in which he fostered a particular interest in
mental health law. However, his heart has always been with the countryside and admits to being a frustrated farmer and in consequence proud to have held office as Chairman of the South of England Agricultural Society from 2004-2008.
Having been a School and Further Education college Governor as well as a Non-Executive Director within the NHS he has been very interested to discover the impact of public sector cuts on the delivery of public services.
As an acting Trustee of various small charities within the County he is also anxious to provide whatever advice and encouragement he can to this sector so vital in the delivery of local services.
David looks forward to the remainder of his term in Office exploring these themes of public service and charitable outreach in difficult times.
Photographs from my Declaration Ceremony on 26th March 2012 at Lewes Crown
David P Allam DL
High Sheriff of East Sussex 2012/2013
2011/2012 - Kathy Gore DL
I’m halfway through my Year as High Sheriff and can’t believe how quickly the last six months have gone! Before I started my Year, several people asked me what my ‘theme’ for the year would be. I had no idea what my ‘theme’ might be and thought I’d just see what evolved.
One of my very pleasurable duties was to present awards, including Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards, to about fifty or so Scouts from across East Sussex. The Uckfield Civic Centre was packed with these Scouts, their proud parents and Scout leaders and I enjoyed meeting them before and afterwards over tea. I felt truly privileged to participate in honouring these young people and their achievements and it was good to be able to thank the parents and leaders for their part in guiding and mentoring them. It was a joyful and rewarding occasion for all.
When I thought about it afterwards I couldn’t help but think that all of those young people were on track and their futures held promise. They had confidence, a sense of self-worth, belonging and good support. They would doubtless go on to do good things and help others in the future.
But... I also thought, what about the vast number of young people out there who would no more join the Scouts or Cadets than jump off Brighton Pier (which I understand is a currently fashionable pastime), the disaffected young who don’t have stable parental support; many possibly living up to the label of ‘no-hoper’ at a very early age; those who’ve been excluded from school; who feel they don’t ‘belong’; whose confidence and sense of self-worth comes from a peer group with a totally different set of values. How do we make them feel they are all part of one ‘big society’?
So – I have sort of found my ‘theme’ – and I’m learning that there are many groups within the statutory and voluntary sectors in East Sussex trying to connect with young people and to make a difference. The Police, the Fire Service and the Probation Trust, apart from creating safer communities, support and run schemes which engage with young people. The YMCA has a range of projects helping young people; The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne offers an outreach and inclusion programme; Albion in the Community attracts excluded young people through the appeal of football and sport – though it delivers a diverse and testing course. Initiatives such as The Rock Challenge improve social inclusion through a performing arts competition; The Trust for Developing Communities, Plumpton College and many more. Many I have yet to meet.
I have met all sorts of people from all over the County, attending Mayor Makings, graduation ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies and police and fire service award ceremonies. My visits with the Fire and Ambulance Services were fascinating. I have sat in the Crown and Magistrates Courts, greeted three royal visitors, opened several summer fetes and many music and arts festivals. I have laid wreaths, visited schools and universities and learned a great deal about the County by meeting with various County and District Council leaders. I have visited Scout and Army Cadet camps and even a sewage works (more interesting and much less pongy than I’d envisaged!). I have visited various sections of the Sussex Police, including the Gatwick unit with its own particular issues. On night-time patrols in Brighton and Hastings I discovered Street Pastors and learned about the wonderful work they and other voluntary organisations perform, particularly for our young, while we’re all safely tucked up in bed.
There are estimated to be over 60,000 volunteers involved in voluntary and community organisations in East Sussex (12% of the total population). They give 134,000 hours of their time (worth £1.6 million) every single week and this is a conservative estimate. This figure does not include those people who, although paid for what they do, go the extra mile and give far more than they’re actually paid to do. It has been an extraordinary honour and privilege to meet so many of them and to thank them for what they do.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of the past six months and, now that I have found my ‘theme’, I hope I can be more focused and start to make a real difference, however small, in helping young people who feel socially excluded to ‘belong’.
A selection of photographs from my Year in Office can be viewed here: http://highsheriffofeastsussex.blogspot.com/
Kathy Gore DL
High Sheriff of East Sussex 2011/2012