A busy Autumn coming up

Following the excitement of the Jubilee and Summer holidays, then the sudden and sad death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth and her most fitting funeral, together with the accession ceremonies of King Charles III, I am now preparing for a busy autumn in a reflective mood.

The problems that we were worrying about a few weeks ago, sadly have not gone away and it could be a tough winter for many.

Signing the book of condolence at County Hall in Chelmsford before proclaiming the accession of King Charles III on 11 September.

I am planning a number of events, some traditional and some new. On Sunday 9 October at 3.30pm, I will be attending the annual Justice Service at Chelmsford Cathedral and I am delighted that two neighbouring High Sheriffs will be joining me for it.

Many of those involved in the criminal justice system in Essex and beyond will come together in a special service dating back many years. The annual assizes, when High Court Judges travelled from London to preside at major cases, used to be preceded by a church service, appealing to God to grant the judge and all those involved with the administration of justice, wisdom and humility in the conduct of cases, and guidance to arrive at a just and fair outcome.

The church may be less central to the lives of many today, but the sentiments remain just as important. If you would like to attend the service but have not been invited, some places may still be available. Please enquire at essex@highsheriffs.com

Chelmsford Cathedral, where the annual Justice Service will be held on Sunday 9 October at 3.30pm

The administration of justice remains a key concern for High Sheriffs, though we no longer have a formal role. To promote general interest in relevant topics I am delighted that friends at ARU in Chelmsford, Essex University in Colchester, and Chelmsford Cathedral have helped me arrange three evening ‘Conversations on Justice with the High Sheriff’.

Dame Vera Baird KC – Guest speaker at the first of my ‘Conversations on Justice, at ARU on 3 November.

The first is on 3 November at ARU in Chelmsford when I will be delighted to welcome Dame Vera Baird KC, the Victims Commissioner for England and Wales to discuss ‘Progress in tackling violence against women and girls’. We will be joined by Dr Theresa Redmond an ARU researcher in this important field. The event starts at 6:30pm and is open to all. You can book for this free event at Eventbrite here.

On 7 December, the former Chief Constable of Essex, Stephen Kavanagh QPM visits from Interpol, where he is Executive Director of Policing Services, to explore ‘We are all in it together – crime, safety and justice in an increasingly fractured world’.  He and I will be joined this time by Dr Kat Hadjimatheu from Essex University, which is kindly hosting the event, for what should be a fascinating evening. Booking for this free event will open shortly. The third and final session will be at Chelmsford Cathedral on 25 January when the Right Reverend Bishop Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani explores with me and local experts the subject of ‘Housing is a justice issue’.  At a time when many of us follow topics through the snippets in social media, or through rolling news updates, please join us for a more relaxed discussion of these interesting and important topics, with a chance to ask questions and join the debate. Eventbrite links to book a space at these events will follow.

My third strand of activity this autumn is to help promote music events where, in addition to an evening of good music, the role of local charities can be highlighted. On 15 October I will be attending the Southend Symphony Orchestra concert in Hadleigh where Essex Community Foundation will be featured. Then on 8 November I plan to attend the Stondon Singers concert in Galleywood which will be promoting CHESS, the Chelmsford based organisation supporting the homeless, and on the 19 November I hope to attend a concert by Chelmsford Singers, with more to follow in December.

Do please follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for more for more details of these concerts where I am thanking the concert organisers and the charities for all they contribute to the wellbeing of our communities across Essex.

Finally, on Saturday the 26 November I am organising a fundraising concert featuring friends who sing as ‘Essex Voices’. It is at Layer Marney church, preceded by a reception by kind permission of Nick and Sheila Charrington. The concert is in aid of the Essex High Sheriffs’ Fund at Essex Community Foundation  (registered charity 1052061) which supports groups across Essex working to make their communities safer.

The magnificent Layer Marney Tower photographed by former Essex Police officer Matthew Mallett

Invitations to this lovely evening will issue very shortly but if you would like to attend, please get in touch through essex@highsheriffs.com.

I have a feeling that the next few months will pass even more quickly than the last few. I hope you will follow me through these blogs to share my journey as I continue to experience our remarkable county.

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