High Sheriffs Awards
Sunday, 8th September, 2013, 2.00 pm
The High Sheriff will be holding a Community Walk in aid of the High Sheriff's Fund.
This will be a circular ramble of around seven miles in the picturesque Ter Valley, finishing with tea and refreshments at the home of the High Sheriff.
For further information, please contact:
‘Who are you?’ ‘What do you do?’
‘How do you do it?’ ‘Why do you do it?’
Such questions often greeted me throughout my year from young and old, mayors, council workers, prison officers, volunteers and even from one who simply wondered at my hat! The discussions which followed helped me tackle the job and truly understand the importance of the role of High Sheriff.
Essex is varied and vast: a population of 1.72 million living in five large urban towns and small rural villages linked by numerous key roads; home to one of the country's busiest motorways, the M25; an extensive rail network; a power station; oil and gas terminals; two major ports; two airports and several airfields; the largest coastline in the UK; two prisons; Crown, County, Magistrates’ Courts, Coroner’s service – and more!
Essex Police allowed me to visit and learn from most of their departments, as did the judiciary, emergency services, criminal justice system, armed forces, local government, churches and the voluntary sector. I live in the northernmost part of the county, which meant that many of my visits clocked up a 100-mile round trip - but worth every mile to learn from and give support to each in whatever way was requested.
Recipients of the Chief Constable’s Commendation Awards at my home, Spains Hall with the Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle (left) and myself.
Apart from giving out numerous High Sheriff’s monetary awards and certificates to the charitable sector, I was able to recognise the marvellous work done in other areas of the community.
Both staff and prisoners at HMP Chelmsford received High Sheriff’s awards. The prison achieved the Gold Standard in Investors in People in my year – the first public sector non-contract prison to receive the Gold IiP. On meeting the assessor of this award he told me that the High Sheriff’s Awards to the establishment had contributed greatly to the prison achieving the Gold Standard.
My writing paper was generously designed and printed by members of one of HMP Chelmsford’s workshops.
In Essex we have the Military Corrective Training Centre, the only one in the UK. I instituted an annual High Sheriff’s Award here. The first recipient was nominated for ‘possessing the highest professional standards, combined with an exceptional commitment to the effective resettlement of detainees back into service life or society’. The winner told me he was ‘truly humbled’ to receive it. The High Sheriff’s Award Winners’ board was proudly hand-crafted by a workshop on site, thereby contributing to purposeful activity for those ‘attending’ the
The High Sheriff’s Award to Essex Probation, started by one of my predecessors, is recognised by them as the topmost prize of their annual awards ceremony.
Recipient of the Essex Probation High Sheriff’s Award.
The Court Awards I presented to those nominated by the judiciary made me realise how much recipients value being acknowledged at county level for their selflessly brave acts of apprehending criminals.
I called upon the help of the Under Sheriff if I felt the Office of High Sheriff should be represented in full ceremonial kit when I was unavailable. I invited the incoming High Sheriffs to assist me at times – giving them a taster of the future! I have organised a tutorial session for incoming High Sheriffs from the ex-Chairman of our County Council to guide them through the complexities of local government, something I wish I had learnt prior to my year in office.
The High Sheriff and her husband learning the intricacies of fire-fighting from Essex Fire and Rescue Service.
The Jubilee year has heightened the relevance of those who have the honour of representing the modern Monarchy. In Essex, the Shrievalty has tried to demonstrate that the most ancient secular royal appointment in the land, that of High Sheriff, is in every way appropriate to the 21st century. I may not have needed to tack up my horse and gallop off to the limits of the county to welcome the High Court Judge, but I did still carry out a duty of support and care for him or her, while at the same time demonstrating the wider role entrusted to me by Her Majesty to seek out and support all in the county who tackle crime and strive to keep our homes and streets safer.
Lady Ruggles-Brise DL
High Sheriff of Essex 2011/2012