The incoming High Sheriff of Shropshire has officially made her declaration today — in a very different setting to many who have preceded her due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Dean Harris, an experienced magistrate who has served in Shropshire for many years, has today officially taken on the role as High Sheriff of Shropshire for the term 2020-21—and has pledged as a priority to help as many people and organisations as possible during this unprecedented time.
The ceremony was due to be held in the company of invited guests and dignitaries at the Shrewsbury Justice Centre, but in accordance with current Government guidelines Dean was allowed to make her official declaration as High Sheriff by video call, behind closed doors, witnessed by Mrs Christine Holmes JP, Mrs Madeleine Butcher (Under Sheriff) and the Reverend Matthew Stafford her Chaplain.
She explained: “I’m delighted to have been appointed today — it is a great honour and a privilege.
“I’ve taken over the role from Dr. Josh Dixey who’s had an incredible year and I just want to personally say a huge thank you to him. In no way do I underestimate the demands and challenges that are ahead of me at such a testing time for our county, and I absolutely intend to do justice to the role.
“My initial intention was to hit the ground running — with a diary full of events to attend and a plan to meet key individuals and organisations across the County. However, COVID-19 has changed things for us all, and I just want to take this opportunity now to recognise and to offer my support to all of those working on the frontline to keep Shropshire safe and the essential services functioning as ‘normally’ as possible.
“The next couple of months are not going to be easy for anybody and I’m absolutely here to help however, and wherever, I can. A collective effort of decency, compassion and kindness is going to be crucial — and already we’ve seen just how much goodwill and generosity there is here in Shropshire.
“I understand that the role of High Sheriff may not one familiar to some but I’ll be working over the next 12 months to help make a real and meaningful contribution to our county in many, many ways – by supporting the Police, law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, and playing an active role in supporting charities and voluntary organisations.”
While Dean is committed to supporting ‘everything Shropshire’ during her shrieval year, her principal focus will be on domestic abuse, addiction, and child poverty and deprivation — not easy subjects, but sadly all very real in Shropshire.
She added: “Theses causes will no doubt be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and will need attention more now than ever. Like everyone, I hope that coronavirus will pass as quickly as possible, that we all stay as safe as possible until it does, and that we can all look forward to better times ahead very soon.”