It is in this Hall, and in the presence of many family and friends, that I made my Declaration on April 8th.
Maundy Thursday was Her Majesty's 85th birthday. Marking this double occasion, also in Oakham Castle, I awarded thirty Certificates for Community Service, each nominated by their own Parish Council for many years of otherwise unrecognized service to their communities.
The Hall of Oakham Castle is reputed to be the oldest continuously used Court in the realm. It is used by a visiting High Court Judge as a Crown Court every alternate year. This July, the Honourable Mrs. Justice Macur DBE presided over the Court. The preceding Justice Service in All Saints' Church, Oakham, started and ended with a fanfare of trumpets played by pupils and staff from Uppingham Community College. Reflecting the rural nature of our County, we travelled from the Church to the Court in a coach and pair.
Police, Fire and Rescue and many charitable services are provided to both Leicestershire and Rutland from offices in Leicester which serve both Counties. I have joined the High Sheriff of Leicester on a fascinating visit to the Headquarters of the Fire and Rescue services. As a prelude to a day at the Police Headquarters, we patrolled inner city Leicester the night before the recent riots started. We attended degree ceremonies and dinners at Leicester and De Montfort Universities. These included the award of Honorary Degrees to Desmond Tutu at Leicester and five of the inmates from Robben Island at de Montfort.
Central to my Shrieval Year is the support of voluntary work devoted to raising the social consciousness and aspiration among young people.
The nominated charity of the High Sheriffs of both Leicestershire and Rutland is Warning Zone, part of national Crimebeat. Warning Zone provides a first class interactive educational resource for all 12,000 year 6 children from our two Counties. It teaches safety and illustrates the consequences of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Across Rutland, we operate 'Knight School' for 5-7 year olds, teaching social responsibility and hygiene weekly to the young 'Lords and Ladies of the Round Table.' Performing the 'Knighting Ceremony' at the end of each course enables me to provide a fitting conclusion for them.
Perhaps the most moving and heart-warming experiences that my wife and I have experienced so far have been with the Princes Trust. This programme is designed for those entering adulthood; and their lives are visibly changed by their experiences. The success rate, monitored in follow-up surveys, is impressive.
We already have a busy calendar for the remaining seven months of our year with many visits, legal services and fundraisers planned. It will certainly have been a memorable and remarkable year for us. We feel very privileged.
Peter Lawson DL
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