It’s considered an honour when a communal organisation has a visit from the High Sherriff and even more so when it’s a second visit at the High Sheriff’s very own request. When a High Sherriff from a neighbouring county joins the party too it can be said that the organisation is really held in high esteem.
That was the case this week at The Nicky Alliance Centre when Lady Joy Smith, the High Sherriff of Greater Manchester paid a return visit to join members for lunch and talk to them about her experiences during her year in office as one of Her Majesty’s representatives. Unusually, she was joined by John Barnett, the very first Jewish High Sherriff of Lancashire and his wife Danielle.
Lady Smith explained that the Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.
Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector.
Both High Sheriffs expressed their admiration for The Nicky Alliance Centre and its work and said how impressed they were at the array of activities on offer,
To celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the two special guests joined members to plant a tree in The Centre’s multi-sensory garden.
Michelle Wiseman, Nicky Alliance Centre Chief Executive, said: “We were delighted to have two of Her Majesty’s High Sheriffs join us at the same time. This is a most unusual occurrence which requires special permission but I met John Barnett at the Synagogue in St Annes and he expressed a desire to visit The Centre. Importantly our members enjoyed listening to their experiences in this very traditional but little known office.”
L to R Club member Fay Phillips, with Nigel Alliance, John Barnett, Danielle Barnet, Lady Smith, Michelle Wiseman