High Sheriffs Awards
June 22 2016
Visit to Brixton Prison
On 22 June, The High Sheriff and Lady Knowles visited Brixton Prison. They were given a full tour of the facility by The Governor, Giles Mason.
Brixton prison is a rehabilitation prison with many inmates from other prisons being transferred there to serve out the end of their sentences.
There are lots of opportunities for the inmates to learn a trade at Brixton - scaffolding, painting and decorating, building work, catering, baking, barbering and horticulture. In addition there are opportunities to develop skills such as CV and letter writing (to assist with the process of gaining employment post release), literacy, numeracy and keeping fit. A number of 'Category D' prisoners there have the opportunity (thanks to local employers) to go out to work from prison, returning each night to their cells.
The High Sheriff and his wife visited The Clink (the onsite restaurant open to the public) and the Bad Boys Bakery, both staffed by inmates. They also visited the facility's radio station which airs to many prisons nationally. The station (run by the Charity National Prison Radio) has an extensive and varied programme list, many of those programmes tackling issues relevant to rehabilitation and taking the next steps following release. A huge number of the inmates listen to and take support from the station.
The Governor, Mr Mason, was very impressive indeed and his desire to see all of his inmates recovered, reformed back into society and into employment after serving their sentence was clear. His energy and commitment to this was obvious.
There are a lot of good people and organisations working for or with Brixton prison; all trying their best to give the inmates there a second chance. A large number of the prisoners that the High Sheriff and his wife met genuinely seemed motivated and focused on living a crime free life upon release. That can only be a good thing.
Of course, one cannot ignore the loss of liberty a prison sentence brings. As one young offender (now rehabilitated) said to the High Sheriff recently - "prison is not the place you want to be". During this visit, however, seeing and hearing about the huge efforts made by so many to help the rehabilitation process was actually a very positive experience. The High Sheriff and his wife very much appreciated the chance to visit.
June 16 2016
Visit to Southwark Crown Court
On 16 June, The High Sheriff and Lady Knowles paid a visit to Southwark Crown Court.
The High Sheriff and his wife were introduced to His Honour Judge McCreath, Hon Recorder of Westminster, and following this introduction, they accompanied him to his Courtroom. The High Sheriff sat alongside Judge McCreath on the Bench and watched the business of the Court that morning.
Following the morning session, the High Sheriff and his wife were able to spend some time with Judge McCreath in his private office. It was a great opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics pertinent to the criminal justice system and Southwark Crown Court in particular. Judge McCreath had attended the High Sheriff's inaugural reception on 6 June and the visit provided the High Sheriff with a much appreciated opportunity to discuss his plans for the Shrieval year particularly in relation to the rehabilitation of young offenders.
The High Sheriff and his wife joined all the Southwark Crown Court Judges for lunch which was very enjoyable.
Southwark Crown Court is a very busy inner London Court, often trying high profile cases. Despite their extremely busy schedules, the Judges and all the staff at Southwark Crown Court made The High Sheriff and his wife feel very welcome. The staff were eager to show their visitors around and explain the workings of their Court. The pride that the staff and the Judges have in this Court was palpable and something that the High Sheriff and his wife very much took away from the visit.
Nigel Knowles with His Honour Judge McCreath, Hon Recorder of Westminster
June 9 2016
Glad Hymns of Praise Celebrating the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.
On 9 June, Lady Knowles and Lynn Johansen, the Under Sheriff, attended a church service at St Luke's Church, Chelsea as guests of the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Rutherford, to celebrate The Queen's birthday. It was a joyful occasion, a true celebration, with music very much at the forefront of the proceedings. The choir sang beautifully. The hymns sung by the congregation were all carefully selected:-
All People That on Earth Do Dwell (sung at the Coronation of Her Majesty The Queen)
Praise My Soul the King of Heaven (sung at the wedding of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh)
O Praise Ye The Lord (sung at The Queen's Silver Jubilee Service)
Who Would True Valour See (Sung at The Queen's Golden Jubilee Service)
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer (Sung at The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Service)
The Royal Borough's Civic Service was conducted in the presence of their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. A reception followed at Chelsea Town Hall.
June 6 2016
The High Sheriff of Greater London's Inaugural Reception at The Prince's Trust, London.
Sir Nigel Knowles held his inaugural drinks reception at The Prince's Trust, where the guests included members of the police service, high court judges, and prison governors. In his speech, delivered at the reception, Nigel announced that he will be promoting the case for more opportunities for young offenders during his one-year tenure, setting out three priorities for the year ahead:
· Understanding the circumstances of young offenders
· Challenging perceptions and stereotypes of young offenders
· Creating more opportunities for young offenders
Nigel will draw on his experience at The Prince's Trust, where he is a Trustee, to fulfil these three priorities. He reminded the audience of the work done by the youth charity to help young offenders have a second chance in life. Last year alone, The Trust supported 58,000 young people of which around 8,000 were offenders or ex-offenders, with some joining programmes while still inside prison and some joining upon being released.
Nigel said: "Creating opportunities for offenders and ex-offenders is a vital challenge to prevent reoffending and making our country and in particular London a safer place. I wanted to make this inaugural speech - my pledge to the people of London - at The Prince's Trust because this is where I have seen so many young people turn their lives around after serving their term. As High Sheriff I want to use this experience for the benefit of the people of London whom I am honoured to serve."
Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust said: "Sir Nigel has made an extremely positive contribution to The Prince's Trust since coming on board as a Trustee in September 2014. All our Trustees are extremely involved in the work of the charity. They have a deep concern for young people and the way in which we are moving forward to reach out to more of them. Sir Nigel is certainly a man of vision and resolve. I feel very confident that he will be a force for good in his new role."
To read Nigel's full speech click
Sir Nigel and Lady Knowles.
May 24 2016
Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the foundation of Whitelands College, University of
Roehampton, Westminster Abbey
On Tuesday, 24th May 2016 at Noon, the High Sheriff attended the above service at Westminster Abbey. The service was one of thanksgiving for Roehampton’s part in providing higher education to women (supplying education for women longer than any other institution in the country), celebration of the anniversary of Whitelands College, and then in the wider context with the other colleges that make up the University. It was a chance for the college to recognise their achievements in higher education and thanksgiving for the life and work of the University and how it benefits students.
May 20 2016
Centenary Service of Thanksgiving for the Courage and Endurance of Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO and his Men, Westminster Abbey
On Friday 20 May, The Under Sheriff, Lynn Johansen, and Sally Knowles (Consort to the High Sheriff) attended the above service at Westminster Abbey.
Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO was an established Polar Explorer of the heroic age. He was born in Ireland and moved as a boy to London. He attended Dulwich College and pursued a career in the Merchant Navy. He first went to Antarctica on Commander Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition (1901-1903). Between 1907 and 1909 Shackleton returned to Antartica leading the Nimrod Expedition.
In 1914, Shackleton set out on another Antarctic expedition to cross the Antarctic continent. He did not succeed. His vessel, Endurance, was crushed by the ice and sank in the Weddell Sea. However, he achieved one of the greatest feats of turn of the century polar exploration - he returned with his 28 man team alive. The story of the Endurance expedition is one of courage and leadership in the face of adversity. On 20 May 1916, Shackleton and a few of his men arrived on the North Coast of South Georgia and from there begun the rescue of the men left behind.
The service was attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Patron of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence KCVO CB. The service was conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.
The Honourable Alexandra Shackleton read the following extract from Shackleton's Boat Journey:
"It was certain that a man of such heroic mind and self-sacrificing nature as
Shackleton would undertake this most difficult task himself. He was, in fact, unable by nature to do otherwise. Being a born leader, he had to lead in the position of most danger, difficulty and responsibility. I have seen him turn pale, yet force himself into the post of greatest peril. That was his type of courage: he would do the job that he was most afraid of."
Frank Worsley (1872-1943)
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition member
It was a wonderful service celebrating the life of a truly inspirational man and his fellow explorers.
April 22 2016
The Declaration of Sir Nigel Knowles as High Sheriff of Greater London
On 22 April 2016, Sir Nigel Knowles was sworn in as the High Sheriff of Greater London. The ceremony was held at the Royal Courts of Justice and involved Sir Nigel, his wife, Lady Knowles, and the Under Sheriff, Lynn Johansen. A small party of family and friends attended.
The High Sheriff, Lady Knowles and the Under Sheriff were met by Alix Beldam, on behalf of the Master of the Crown office, Master Michael Egan QC, at the gate to the Judges' Quadrangle where they were taken to meet the Lord Chief Justice, The Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, before the ceremony began. The Queen's Remembrancer, Senior Master Fontaine, and Chief Clerk to the Queen's Remembrancer, Ed Boswell, sat on the bench to witness the ceremony which was held in Court 4 of the Royal Courts of Justice.
After the declaration was read, the Lord Chief Justice spoke, giving his observations of the appointment - the oldest non-ecclesiastical appointment by The Queen - and its significance in today's society as the High Sheriff maintains an interest in justice in the wider sense. The High Sheriff's theme for 2016-17 is all about increasing opportunities for young offenders and disadvantaged young people.
Lord Chief Justice and Sir Nigel Knowles.
here to view the Greater London News published in the Summer 2014
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater London News published in the Summer 2013
edition of The High Sheriff magazine
here to view the Greater London News page for 2015-2016
here to view the Greater London News page for 2014-2015
here to view the Greater London News page for 2013-2014