high sheriff logo



March  |  February  |  January  |  December  |  November  |  October  |
  September  |  August  |  July  |  June  |   May  |  April

Peter Kingston was High Sheriff for 2010-2011. This is his diary of the year:

4 April: Susie Sheldon’s Declaration As High Sheriff The last activity of my year was a brief one to be present when the incoming High Sheriff made her Declaration. I went into the Court as High Sheriff and left as a former High Sheriff. This brought to an end a very interesting and busy year and one which we will long remember. Gill and I wish Susie a happy and successful year.

2 April: Salvation Army, Newport We were invited to the re-opening of the hall in Pyle Street Newport, which has been completely refurbished at substantial cost. The building work is superb and we enjoyed a most uplifting service. The Salvation Army has also made a major investment in Ryde where they have built a hostel for up to 27 homeless men. A much needed facility.

1 April: Lunch Party We hosted a lunch party for 24 people at the Royal Solent Yacht Club. It was very difficult to decide who to invite as we had met so many helpful people during the year but those invited were those who had had a particular importance to me during the year. Several guests were police officers who were slow replying to their invitation as they presumed that in view of the date for the lunch the invitation was an April Fool from their colleagues! Gill and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting again those individuals who we felt had made my year as High Sheriff so notable for us. The caterers of the Yacht Club did us proud.


31 March: Cowes Yacht Haven – Police Information Day I was invited to attend this event, organised by the Isle of Wight Junior Chamber of Commerce when 60 school pupils came to learn about possible careers in the police force. The pupils were divided into groups and they moved around having 15 minutes at a time at the various information stations. After a very good lunch they were introduced to the drug dogs and to the fire arms teams. This was the first of these events and due to reduction in funding from the Council to the Chamber of Commerce, it may be the last. This would be a shame as it was a very successful event and not only introduced the young people to possible careers in the police but gave them a very good insight into the various activities.

30 March: County Hall – Citizenship Together with Dr. Patricia Partridge DL and Councillor Ian Stephens I attended the citizenship ceremony when five people became British Citizens. Unfortunately the lift bringing supporters to the ceremony got stuck and the fire brigade had to be summoned. There was therefore a delay in the ceremony and despite being trapped in the lift for a while everyone seemed to take it in good spirit.

27 March: Shanklin Chine - 40 Commando Royal Marines – Memorial Service We attended the service that commemorates the men of 40 Commando who trained on the Island for both the Dieppe raid in 1942 and for D Day. It was very good that some of the original members were able to be present as well as a very good number of relatives. It was a very moving service before which a bench dedicated to the memory of Manor General Gite was unveiled by the vice president of the association and his neice, Mrs. Julia Sheard.

After the service and a cup of coffee we repaired to the Shanklin Hotel where the Association held a lunch and a fantastic raffle draw. There is a great spirit of camaraderie amongst the old marines and their families who have enjoyed many years of annual reunions. It has now been decided, however, that as they are getting older and it is the 70th Anniversary in 2012 of the Dieppe Raid that next year will be their last.

24 March: Great Hall, Winchester – Inaugural Law Lecture The High Sheriff of Hampshire has inaugurated this lecture and a wide audience had been invited, including High Sheriffs from Berkshire, Oxfordshire as well as the Island. The lecturer was Sir Charles Grey, a retired high court judge who spoke about two high profile libel cases. In one he had acted as Counsel for the aggrieved. This case was argued in front of a jury and the highest award of damages ever made was awarded by the jury although we understood that not one penny of the £1.5 million damages was ever paid. The other case was tried in front of him sitting as a sole judge without a jury. The details of both cases were fascinating and related to war time events. Alan Lovell, the Hampshire High Sheriff, hopes that this event will become part of the Hampshire Shrievalty calendar.

23 March: Newport Police Station Inspector Treagus had arranged for me to spend some time with the Dog Section and also with the Scenes of Crime Department. I also attended the briefing for the incoming shift. The work of the Dog Section was carefully explained to me and I spent an interesting time with the Scenes of Crime. I spent some time with the Dog Section and they work as additional resources when not required with the dogs and a we did a general patrol, including looking for a named person before rushing to a distraught mother who had reported her young son missing. It is remarkable that even with the "blues and twos" on how other motorists do not seem to notice a police car in a hurry. Fortunately the young child was found very quickly by the police – he was in a bit of trouble with his mother and had hidden very craftily in the house.

After this I went to the Conservative Club in Shanklin where a reception was being held to mark the departure from the Island of Inspector Penell and Superintendant Mellors. Both of whom are transferring to the mainland. I was asked to say a few words and to present a give to Mr. Mellors. (Mr. Penell was not left out of the presentations, this had been done at another event). Both officers had done sterling work on the Island and as a result of their leadership crime on the Island has been substantially reduced.

22 March: Riverside Centre – Wight Minds Award With the Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council we had been asked to present awards to people who have worked hard with people with mental health difficulties. The Chairman and I were asked to say a few words and afterwards we enjoyed refreshment and the opportunity to meet the recipients.

21 March: St. Mary's Hospital – Launch Of Appeal For A T.O.E. The Friends of the Hospital and the Ring Fund have come together to seek to raise the necessary amount to purchase this piece of equipment for the Cardiology Department. The members of the Fire Service based at Ryde are going to undertake the majority of the fund raising in memory of one of their colleagues who died while on duty of an undetected heart problem. The widow and children were present at the launch. The firemen intend to carry a ladder round the Island in August, calling at all fire stations. They have undertaken to raise not only enough for this piece of equipment but also two defibrillators. An amazing example of support given for the community.

16 March: Citizenship Ceremony, Chairman's Office, County Hall Five people became British citizens and as has become the custom, the Registrar now announces the new citizens' original country of birth. They came from a broad spectrum. Unfortunately the Deputy Lieutenant who was to represent the Lord Lieutenant had been taken ill and there was no Lieutenancy representation. Over a cup of coffee after the ceremony it was good to be able to speak informally to the new citizens and their supporters.

15 March: Challenge and Adventure Awards Evening This evening was the second awards presentation and very good resume of the activities was given to us with some good film and good slides. I was asked to present one of the awards. It was as inspiring as last year’s event and it is good to see the progress that the young people are making. This is a truly amazing organisation but sadly they are facing accommodation difficulties as they have to relocate at the end of September. The work that they do is very important and it is to be hoped that they will find alternative accommodation shortly.

10 March: Corf Scout Camp I was asked to visit the camp as they are seeking to raise substantial funds to redevelop a very tired building which is no longer useable. Planning Permission is being sought and the replacement will be a much needed improvement to this well used facility.

9 March: St. Catherine’s School Exhibition At Quay Arts Older pupils of the school had an exhibition of art and sculpture on display with a good reception and a presentation from the Chairman of the Governors, the Headmaster and a Trustee whose daughter had attended the school. It was a very interesting evening and the pupils’ artistic talents were very obvious.

8 March: In Court With Judge Dixon An "interesting day". In the middle of a trial the defendant, who was representing himself had failed to appear on the previous day and arrived having been arrested on a Bench Warrant. Unfortunately the case was very protracted and it was unlikely to be completed by the end of Thursday and the judge was not available thereafter. The judge took the decision, very reluctantly, to discharge the jury and order a re-trial. In view of the defendant's history he was remanded in custody over night while bail matters were considered. An interesting insight.

5 March: Events Centre, Cowes Yacht Haven – Isle Of Wight Music Centre Concert This was a concert entitled "Bolero" and included all 250 musicians who attend the Music Centre on a Saturday morning. The young people ranged in age from 6 years old to their last year at school. The music was most enjoyable and gave various groups the opportunity to show their developing skills. The last item was Ravel’s Bolero and included everyone. This received a standing ovation. The Events Centre was absolutely packed and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The youngest musicians were incredibly patient as they opened the concert and had to wait until almost the end. The whole evening was a great tribute to the dedicated work of the tutors and musicians who encourage the young people to enjoy their music.

4 March: Newport Youth Club A brief attendance at the opening of the café that has been created in the youth club and partly funded by the Youth Inclusion Forum. The decoration of the café is most attractive and the design had been thoughtful of the young people who will use it. Unfortunately I could not stay long as I had to get on to the next event.

High Sheriff's Awards – Quay Arts These awards are for children and young people who have achieved much, often overcoming major problems in their lives. Ten people received awards and it was very humbling to read their nominations. This was the second year that this scheme has been run and I hope that it will become a regular part of the High Sheriff's year.

2 March: County Hall, Chairman's Office – Citizenship As the Chairman's office is quite small it is likely that there will be more regular ceremonies and this occasion eight people were made British citizens. This included one family with two young sons.

1 March: Yarmouth Primary School I was asked to the assembly and to say a few words to the school about the role of High Sheriff. As the children quite young I kept this short.

All Saints' Primary School, Freshwater I then went on to All Saints' where I gave a repeat performance!

Back to the top


17 February: Riverside Centre – Sports Awards Evening This annual event marks achievements by sports men and women from varying sports and of differing ages. Also rewards coaches and supporters. I was asked to present some of the awards.

16 February: Chairman's Office, County Hall - Citizenship This was the first Citizenship ceremony held in the Chairman's office, which is quite small but has much more character than the Council Chamber. Six people became British citizens.

15 February: In Court With His Honour Judge Andrew Barnett. I saw the end of one trial and the sentencing and the start of a second trial. This was somewhat delayed as counsel for the defendant had been replaced as the originally instructed barrister had been delayed on a trial elsewhere. As usual we had lunch in the County Club.

11 February: West Wight Sports Centre The local Co-op has agreed to donate a proportion of the turnover to local good causes and I was there to launch the scheme and also to present two cheques, each in the sum of £15,000. The scheme has been so successful that the money has been raised much more rapidly than anticipated and the Co-op has agreed to donate a further £10,000 to four local charities.

Medina Sports Centre, Newport The Community Safety Partnership put on a demonstration and exhibition of various activities of the police, fire service and other organisations involved in community safety. The demonstrations with the police dogs and the fire brigade taking the roof off a car were very popular. This was a very successful event attended by nearly 1,000 people.

8 February: Northwood House – Apprenticeship Week Launch I was asked to open the challenge to find 111 apprenticeship places on the Island in 2011. It is important that apprenticeships are available and the posts filled to provide training posts for people who do not need to go to university. Three other speakers took part, one an employer of major importance to the Island who spoke of his experience as an apprentice and how the skills that he had learned had stayed with him for all his working life. He committed his firm, which currently has 27 apprentices, to take on 11 in 2011. There followed two further speakers, one being a small employer who spoke of the benefits of taking on an apprentice and she was followed by an apprentice of her firm who spoke very confidently about the benefits that she was receiving.

3 February: Youth Inclusion Forum Unfortunately there was only a small representation at this meeting due to pressures of work on the other committee members. The funding for 2011/12 has now been confirmed as being secure for this year. There had been some concerns that a decision made previously to spread the funding over two years would not be respected. The funding requests presented by very worthwhile causes were all approved. This is a very useful forum and it is to be hoped that funding can continue in the future despite current difficulties.

Back to the top


29 January: Newport Congregational Church We were invited to the opening of the new church hall, now to be used as their church until sufficient funds are available to complete the development with the construction of the chapel itself. There was good representation of churches throughout the Island and we enjoyed a very uplifting service. The congregation had been without a proper meeting place for nine years, since the sale of the previous church premises.

27 January: Holocaust Memorial Service I was asked to give an address at the memorial service. Perhaps the most difficult thing that I have been asked to do. As the Lord Lieutenant in his address later in the service, how can we gentiles really understand the suffering of the Jewish people. The service also dwelt on the continuing inhumanity being shown around the world with very moving addresses by young people and by a Salvation Army representative who had worked in Bosnia. His first hand experience with photographs was extremely powerful.

26 January: Portsmouth Cathedral – Funeral Of Bishop Kenneth Stevenson Having been ill for many years Bishop Kenneth died at the very early age of 61, not long after he had taken early retirement due to his health problems. It was a most uplifting service and a great privilege to be present.

24 January: St. Thomas’ Minster The induction and licensing of the new vicar to this parish which has been in interregnum for 18 months. After the service there was an informal reception in the Parish Centre with a chance to meet representatives from all over the Island.

21 January: Albert Cottage East Cowes – Breakfast Meeting With The NFU This was an information meeting and very good to hear of the involvement of the NFU in dealing with the problem of fallen stock on the Island and to discuss on a very informal basis the problems being experienced by the agricultural industry on the Island.

NICU – St. Mary’s Hospital I was asked to open the Neo-natal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s. This event was originally planned for early December but had to be postponed due to the inclement weather. This facility has been needed on the Island for many years and is now on the same floor as the maternity unit and provides twelve cots for special care babies. I recall the necessity for improved facilities being discussed at my first Health Authority meeting many years before. I was very privileged to open this. We met the staff who would be working in the unit and they are all very dedicated and thrilled to be able to work in such a up to the minute facility.

20 January: Newport Police Station – High Sheriff Trust Meeting This was the first meeting of the trust attended by Mrs. Mary Case following her nomination in November. A very useful discussion took place about requests for funding and funds were given to various organisations, all supporting young people. It was disappointing to learn that a facility that had been hoped to be developed in Wroxall was not to go ahead but we were pleased to continue to support a project in Ventnor that is run by the same organisation who had been disappointed. They are doing a very important job in Ventnor.

12 January: Citizenship Ceremony In The Council Chamber Ten people became British citizens and were well supported. The council chamber does not have the character formerly enjoyed but the ceremony worked quite well. Unfortunately there is not much room for a cup of coffee afterwards and this needs to be improved so that there is time for relaxed conversation after the ceremony.

3 January: Medina Theatre – Isle of Wight Youth Symphony Orchestra Concert After two days of workshop the orchestra put on a most enjoyable concert of music of varying styles and this included a viola solo by a young lady who played most beautifully. Some of the members of the orchestra had only recently joined and the way that their talents are developed is a tribute to their tutors and their hard work. It is a shame that the audience was so thin. Perhaps a reaction to it being so close to New Year and on a bank holiday. It would be nice to see these concerts better supported.

Back to the top


20 December: To Parkhurst Prison for the Carol Service Gill and I were invited to attend one of the carol services in the prison. This was nine lessons and carols, with seven of the lessons being read by prisoners. The service was very moving and it was good that after the service was over we had a cup of tea and a mince pie with those who had attended the service. We had great admiration for the support given to the prisoners by the Chaplaincy team and this had included coaching one inmate who read a lesson most beautifully and we discovered in our conversations over tea that he could not read or write until twelve months ago.

We were very nearly unable to get to the service as the roads were very slippery. We were very grateful to a neighbour who took us in his Land Rover and it would have been a great shame to have missed the service. The prisoners had cleared paths in the gardens area to allow safe access to the chapel.

17 December: In Court with His Honour Judge Rawls QC I spent the day with the judge sitting in court while he presided over the end of a trial and also dealt with sentencing of nine convicted offenders. The work rate was very impressive although one case was not dealt with as the papers had only been delivered to the judge in the morning and he had not had any time to consider. I believe that he was to make his thoughts known to the court authorities. Most of the sentencing was done while the jury was considering its verdict although it did not take the members of the jury that long to return a verdict of guilty on two counts. The case was one of burglary and taking a car without consent. The owner of the house that had been burgled had written a letter and the affect on the residents was profound.

16 December: With the Police I spent the evening out with one of the area cars and this included visiting a home to investigate complaints about harassment; taking a statement. The officer then prepared the necessary letter which we served on the person about whom the complaint had been made. The person took this very well and understood the circumstances, although his version of events was somewhat different to those of the complainant! We also had to go to a sudden death at the hospital. The person had not been there for more than a short time before death and the constable was acting as Coroner’s Officer. I also had the opportunity of meeting two of the dogs in the Dog Section and to discuss their operation with the handler. As previously, I am immensely impressed with the way that the police deal with some very tricky situations; with patience and politeness.

14 December: Magistrates Court I sat in the Magistrates Court for the morning and watched the magistrates dispensing justice at its ground roots. Cases were very varied from shop lifting, drug offences, motoring among others. The magistrates were very busy all morning and had a heavy list for the afternoon as well. I am very grateful to the chairman of the bench who gave up his morning to sit with me and to take me through the "handbook" to which the magistrates make reference and which gives reference to the appropriate sentences for various offences.

The magistrates are all volunteers who have received considerable training yet receive no remuneration and they deal with by far the largest proportion of cases with efficiency and are well advised by the legal advisor in the court.

12 December: The Isle of Wight Youth Concert Band "A Victorian Christmas" The Medina Theatre had been transformed from last evening’s concert and part looked like a comfortable fireplace of a Victorian drawing room where the compere reclined in an armchair during the music. The music was very varied and performed by mainly young musicians with one or two more mature people joining. Included in the concert was a superb clarinet solo. We were also encouraged to sing some of the Christmas songs accompanied by snow! Gill drew the raffle and there were a good number of prizes and it is to be hoped that a good sum of money was raised to help support the band. A presentation was made during the interval to Barry Reeves to mark his retirement as Chairman and Publicity Officer. He has been involved with the band for 25 years. He received a hearty round of applause and I do not think that he will be allowed to sever his connections.

Both this concert and that on the previous evening show just how important music for young people on the Island is. There were quite a number of familiar faces involved in both concerts.

11 December: Isle of Wight Music Centre Concert Due to the cancellation of the concert that was due to take place on the previous Saturday because of the weather, this was a combined concert. There were three sections of different music performed by young people at different stages of their music learning. The whole evening was most enjoyable; the music was excellent and the enthusiasm of the tutors and conductors is infectious. It is obvious from the playing that the young people have caught that enthusiasm. Not only does the Music Centre organise concerts such as this but they also reach out into the schools during term time. They whet the appetites of young people to learn a musical instrument and it is a wonderful facility for those who wish to learn to play without the expense of private lessons.

10 December: West View House, Totland This is a care home for people suffering from awful affliction of Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been extended and modernised and now provides accommodation for up to 36 people. I had previously visited on an informal basis and had the opportunity to meet with the residents and staff. The building work has only just finished and the accommodation is extremely well laid out and comfortable. People are encouraged to bring in their own bits and pieces to make their rooms more like home and there are several lounges of varying quietness to suit all stages of the illness. I was asked to say a few words and having done that cut the ribbon to formally open the new part of the building. Unfortunately this event was originally intended to take place earlier in the afternoon but had been put back. In view of another commitment we were not able to spend as much time as we would have liked.

Earl Mountbatten Hospice Carol Service This carol service took place in the Minster which was full and despite having to take a circuitous route to get there due to the Winter Carnivals in Newport and Freshwater we arrived just in time. The service was very well organised with some lovely hymns, carols and readings. The Hospice does such a good job and is supported so well by the people of the Island, which is just as well as they depend for the majority of their funding on donations and bequests. After the service we enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies.

9 December: Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival This is an event that has been running for fourteen years with decorated Christmas trees in churches and the community hall in Brighstone. It raises a lot of money for charity and I was very pleased to be asked to light the "Tree of Love" which marked the formal launch of the event. After a short service in the Methodist Church with singing led by children from Brighstone Primary School and Chale Church choir we went outside and after a few words from me we lit the Christmas tree lights. The whole village seems to be involved in this event and the many trees have been decorated by various organisations from around the Island. There is a real feeling of preparation for Christmas in the village.

8 December: Citizenship Ceremony At County Hall Judy Griffin DL, Councillor Ian Stevens and I welcomed eight new British Citizens. This was the second ceremony held in County Hall and was held in a committee room. We had the opportunity of having coffee afterwards to meet the new citizens but the lay-out of the room is still not ideal as it is set up for committee debate. However, it was much more intimate than the Council Chamber.

6 December: Gilten Market At Brickfield Equestrian Centre It is tradition that the High Sheriff gilds the horns of the champion beast. There was a very good number of cattle entered for this competition and also many animals for sale including fat cattle and stores. The champion beast was owned by the Callaway family and it was very good to see three generations of the family there. I was glad that the highland beast did not win as it seemed very temperamental and had very long horns! We were entertained to a delicious lunch of steak by David Biles, a previous High Sheriff and who has been very involved in ensuring that this tradition continued after the closure of the cattle market on the Island.

1-5 December: All the events were cancelled due to the snow! These included the Hampshire Police Band concert in Winchester which we were unable to reach due to the terrible forecast and we were advised not to travel. This advice proved wise as the roads were treacherous by the end of the concert and it would have been impossible to get back to the Island.

Opening of the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, which has been postponed until January.

Girl Guides Centenary Dinner in Bembridge, postponed until January.

Back to the top


29 November: Royal British Legion Women's Section Conference The conference was held in the Parish Centre in Newport and after the usual reports and presentation of prizes the Island President, Lt. Col. (Retd) David Langford spoke about the activities of the Legion generally and how the support for old service people is going to become increasingly important in the straightened times that the country now finds itself. The main speaker was my predecessor, Mrs. Gay Edwards, who spoke most amusingly about her year in office.

Art Exhibition At Winter Gardens, Ventnor This event had been organised at fairly short notice but was an exhibition of art by people suffering from mental health problems from two centres; I was asked to open this and to say a few words. There was some extremely professional work although several artists insisted that they had had no previous training until their illness took over their lives. It was an opportunity for the artists to forget their illness and to realise that they were there as artists and to be proud of their work.

25 November: Reclaim The Night We joined the march that had been organised by the Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator, which was intended to make the plague of domestic violence known to the public. We gathered in Sts. Thomas Square in the perishing cold and after Roger Mazilius had said a few words we processed around Newport and then returned to the Minster. I was asked to say a few words and was pleased to do so. Sadly, while crime generally on the Island has reduced, reported domestic violence remains stubbornly at the same level. After I spoke there was a speaker from the Fire Brigade who get involved because of risks to households and he was followed by two teen-aged speakers who spoke with great passion about the affect of violence on the whole family. This received some publicity in the County Press and I hope that it will have raised people’s awareness.

24 November: Youth Inclusion Forum I chaired the Youth Inclusion Forum and we are planning the second High Sheriff award evening to take place in March, to recognise achievements of young people in overcoming difficulties and making a difference to their lives or to the lives of others. This is a repeat of the event that took place last year for the first time and was so successful. There were some concerns about the funding for 2011/12 expressed but as we had been promised the money and had decided to spread the distribution over two years, we feel that this will be protected. We reviewed the distribution of the funds in 2010 and the commitment of the funds has resulted in some very good work.

23 November: Visit to Liz Earle Offices and Distribution Centre We were welcomed by Kim and John Buckland who explained the philosophy of the company and we were then shown round the offices and the packing and distribution areas. Every item is hand wrapped and packed and the organisation of the distribution is very smooth. Everyone that we met was so enthusiastic and friendly, it is little wonder that this business has developed so successfully. The Island is very lucky to have such a go ahead employer in Ryde. There is obviously great care taken of the staff and whilst many of the tasks are fairly repetitive they are rotated during the day and before anyone starts work they have to undertake exercises to avoid strain. The company is also very green, the heating of the premises is from ground source heating; the lavatories are flushed with rain water that is collected from the roofs. They are planning a new building which will be even more environmentally friendly, including photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

20 November: Fashion Show at Downside Middle School The Pan Together Community Association put on a fashion show displaying clothes by Matalan and the models ranged in age from two years old to rather older! The event was very well organised and the models had obviously rehearsed their catwalk skills. Part of the show was meant to include an excerpt from the forthcoming Dick Wittington Pantomime by the Ventnor Theatre Group but they were unable to attend but a young man of 7 year old sang to the audience instead. The event was well supported by sponsors with a raffle and an impressive array of prizes. There were also Christmas decorations on sale and an extensive buffet. There was a lot of support for the event from local residents and there was a very jolly atmosphere.

18 November: Forelands Middle School Bembridge I was invited to take part in a "Dragons Den" presentation where teams of pupils from Year 8 made presentations to us of items that they were hoping to produce and sell at the school’s Christmas Fair. The four most successful would receive additional funding towards their products. The presentation skills of all the teams was remarkable for these young people and there was a wide selection of items that they wanted to sell. The choice of the top four was quite difficult but unanimity among the Dragons was not that difficult. Before the presentations, as we had arrived a little early, Gill and I had the opportunity of visiting the staff room and met a good proportion of staff. We were made very welcome including being offered doughnuts. The morale seems very high in spite of the uncertainties that many of the staff had about their futures when Middle Schools close at the end of the academic year. We also had a tour of the school and were most impressed with the facilities including the computer suite. We understand that the school will be occupied by the adjoining primary school after about a year of vacancy.

17 November: UKSA Awards This event marked the end of a course for young people, which included a week staying at the UKSA and regular day and evening events over three months, when they took part in all sorts of team building activities including sailing, canoeing and other waterborne adventures. It was sponsored by Vesta and supported by the police and other organisations. It was very good to hear the development of the young people and how much their mentors had gained from the experience of working with these young people. The HR and training manager of Vesta spoke very highly of the benefits that their managers had gained from this. It is to be hoped that this will continue next year although £28,000 of sponsorship is necessary.

16 November: Vectis Corps of Drums Award Evening We were asked to attend the evening when the band members received their awards and certificates. The band supports a large number of charitable events and some of the young people had been to every one of their parades. Some of the members of the band are as young as 7 years old. After the awards the band gave a concert of some of their favourite music. The leaders of this organisation do a wonderful job and are very dedicated.

14 November: Remembrance Sunday Held at Sts Thomas’ Square, Newport, followed by a service in the Minster. Despite the terrible weather there was a very good turnout of people of all ages to witness the laying of wreaths after the two minutes’ silence. The first wreath was laid by the Lord Lieutenant, I laid the second, followed by the Chairman of the Council and many others. After the service in the Minster there was a march past of the TA, cadets, youth organisations, etc. When this was all finished Gill and I went to the Field of Remembrance at Carisbrooke Castle where Gill placed a cross in memory of her uncle who was shot down in World War ll.

11 November: Field of Remembrance – Carisbrooke Castle The Lord Lieutenant had instituted a field of remembrance at the castle as he felt that this was something that was missing in the marking of the period of remembrance. English Heritage had made available an area of lawn adjoining the chapel which is the formal war memorial for the Island. The intention had been to hold the service outside but as the weather was very windy and wet the service was held in the chapel. This was conducted by the Archdeacon, the Ven. Caroline Baston, and after the service we were led by a piper to the garden of remembrance where the Lord Lieutenant, the Chairman of the Council and others placed crosses in memory of those who had died in the service of the country. This was the first time that this service had taken place and it was very moving.

Downside Middle School (Kitbridge Campus) The school marks remembrance by holding a service in the Minster Church in Newport and I was asked to attend and read a poem. The Minster was full and it was a very moving service, mainly led by the pupils of the school. There was a very good address and the children brought forward crosses in memory of all those killed in Afghanistan in the last twelve months. These were received by the clergy and staff sergeant in full uniform. It is good that the school keeps up such remembrance and the headmaster made the point in his closing remarks that he hopes that the ethos of remembrance will be taken by the pupils when they move to their new schools in September, as Downside will be closing as part of the reorganisation of education on the Island.

Ryde Children's Centre We were invited to a "Good Childhood" conversation organised by the Children's Centre and the Children's Society which is taking over the Children's centres on the Island in April. They are seeking to find out how life can be improved for young people. Quite a lot of research had been done on the Island and particularly in the Ryde area but it came as quite a surprise to the representatives of the Children's Society from the mainland to learn that the Island has some very deprived areas. They thought that as we were part of the affluent south east, deprivation was not something that they would find. People had various ideas as to what are the causes of problems in childhood, much of it seemed to focus on families not talking to each other over the meal table; children having televisions in their bedrooms, leading to isolation. It was interesting to learn from answers from some children that they would welcome some “rough and tumble” from their fathers. One comment that had a great affect on one of the researchers was from a child who said that she liked it every night when her mother said goodnight to her that she always said "goodnight, sleep tight, hope the bugs don't bite". It was a comfortable routine.

10 November: Walk the Wight celebration The Hospice holds a prize giving to reward people who had made a fantastic contribution to the fund raising "Walk the Wight" earlier in the year. This was held in the restaurant of the Isle of Wight College and was very well attended. I was asked to present one of the trophies. Until this day the amount that had been raised had been kept on the secret list but the amount raised this year was approximately £320,000. A fantastic amount of money. The evening gave the opportunity for the trustees of the hospice to give their thanks to the many supporters and sponsors, without whose assistance it would not be possible to hold such a large event.

9 November: 75th Anniversary of The Ramblers Association I was asked to meet with the ramblers to help them celebrate their anniversary when they gathered at the National Trust car park at Blackgang. The intention was for me to cut the anniversary cake and formally open a new gate that had been installed by the ramblers leading to one of their popular paths. They were to then walk a circular walk of 7½ miles, carrying a specially made anniversary baton. Unfortunately the weather was awful, with heavy rain and blustery winds. The celebrations were rather spoilt by this but not the spirit of the ramblers. I cut the cake and we ate it in the rain but they all had big smiles on their faces as they set off on their walk. Several of the members of the group had had a real struggle to get to the rendezvous as there was a lot of flooding on the roads, particularly in the north east Wight.

8 November: St. Saviours Roman Catholic Primary School and Nursery, Totland We went to their weekly assembly when children who have worked hard during the previous week are awarded certificates and after this and a discussion with the headteacher we toured the classrooms and had the chance to speak with the children and answer some of their questions. Quite a lot of interest in the sword and buckles on my shoes. There is a wonderful atmosphere in the school and they have very good facilities. As the schools are going through change at the moment extra years are accommodated during the transition when middle schools will cease. The head is on secondment from Christ the King College, Newport and he is finding it a very interesting exercise. Totland is benefitting from his expertise and he feels that he will be taking some of the lessons back to his main school where he is the deputy head.

After our visit to the main school we then went to the nursery in a separate building run by a charitable trust providing care for young children from a very early age until they move to the school across the playground. The children have excellent facilities including a sensory room which is available to the health service for people to whom it would be helpful. On the first floor of this building is a large room which is used as an after school club, again well equipped with computers and other amusements. There is also a computer suite where people of all ages can go for computer lessons, from the very beginning to more advanced stages.

Outside there are some good grounds with a tiered "Greek Theatre", allotments, cycle ways and a wooded area. The trustees would be very keen to see even further use made of these facilities by the local community than is the current case.

Vecta Lodge The Lodge was celebrating its 200th anniversary and there was a fine display of regalia, record books and photographs and other very interesting items. I had happy memories of their main room where many years ago my firm used to conduct auction sales. The information in the books was fascinating and a real social history. The Society of Oddfellows was really a forerunner of the social services and supported health care and other items by a monthly small subscription. They also provided mortgages and they were very advanced in their thinking as long before women got the vote they were in positions of authority within the society. Having looked at the exhibition we were entertained to a very good buffet lunch.

6 November: Brighstone Old Comrades and R.B.L. Branch We were invited to their formal dinner held at Freshwater Bay House and had a very good evening with a very active group of people. This association has only been running for a few years and started with 30 members and is now up to over 120. They have events nearly every month and obviously really enjoy themselves. One of their member, who is 94 years of age, is due to make his second parachute jump shortly to raise funds for the British Legion. It was a very jolly evening and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

5 November: Dorchester Court service We were invited to attend this service which meant an early start but one which was very worthwhile. St. Peter's Church is quite small and it was therefore full. The service was beautifully arranged and the Under Sheriff had us all very well organised. We were all shown to the right car to get us to the church from the civic offices and back again after a cavalcade around Dorchester with numerous police motorcycle outriders.

During the service two pieces of complicated music were sung by pupils of two middle schools and they were superb. Following the procession round the town we sat in court with Mr. Justice Royce while he was sentencing several defendants. This was followed by a very good lunch hosted by the High Sheriff of Dorset.

Wightlink are quite neurotic about people in plus fours who may be carrying guns or cartridges, on seeing me in my black velvet court dress I was asked by the ticket collector if I was going shooting and had any ammunition in the car!

Exhibition of Brannon prints at the Roman Villa, Brading We rushed home, a quick change out of court dress into a suit and off to Brading for the exhibition of prints that had been collected by Ken Hicks over many years. It is thought that he has a copy of every print ever produced by the Brannon Family. It was very interesting to see how minor alterations had been made to some print plates. The exhibition is to last for a while and it is hoped that it will be well attended.

4 November: Royal Marine Band concert in aid of sea farers We were invited to the concert held in the Medina Theatre by the band of HMS Collingwood. This is one that has only recently been formed but the popularity of the Royal Marines was very evident as there was not a vacant seat in the theatre. I understand that the tickets sold out as soon as they went on sale. As to be expected, the music was superb and it is to be hoped that the Sea Farers' funds will be swollen by the proceeds.

3 November: Occupational therapy and wheel chair service open day I was invited to attend the open day to see the changes that have been made to the service since I was chairman of the Community Trust which was responsible for the wheel chair service in those days. I spent a very interesting time with them and very impressed with the equipment that is now available. Most of it is available very quickly but some of it has to be specially made and can take a while. The services that are now provided are very comprehensive and modern technology has produced some very valuable aids that help to maintain people in their own homes.

2 November: In court with Judge Hetherington The case that had been listed to start on the previous day and scheduled to last for three days had collapsed. A new case was therefore brought forward. The defendant had pleaded guilty to one of the charges and after discussion between barristers the defendant changed her plea to guilty on all charges. She was remanded on bail for sentence later. I entertained the judge to lunch at the Isle of Wight County Club and went home after lunch.

(On the Wednesday a further trial was brought forward and I understand that this collapsed as well when the defendant changed their plea. Something which needs to be looked at as this all seemed to be such a tremendous waste of court time and unnecessary cost.)

1 November: Funeral of Revd. Canon J. Buckett Held at All Saints' Church Ryde. Jim Buckett, as he was known, was a very popular priest and had been rector of Sts. Thomas' Newport for many years. He was also chaplain to the Isle of Wight Council and to the Royal British Legion among other groups. His popularity was shown by the large turnout for his funeral. His death was very sudden and obviously came as a great shock to his family and to everyone who knew him. The Revd. Redvers-Harris took the service and his address really gave us an insight into Jim's character. He will be greatly missed.

Back to the top


28 October: East Cowes Council Reception The Mayor, Councillor Peter Lloyd, invited us to his reception in the Town Hall of East Cowes. This was well attended and it was good to see a very wide cross section of people who do so much for East Cowes being recognised. There was a delicious buffet prepared by the local delicatessen, all the food being home-made and much enjoyed by all present.

23 October: SSAFA 125th Anniversary Dinner The 125th anniversary has been marked on the Island by a number of events, ending with this dinner in the Events Centre at the Yacht Haven at Cowes. It was very well attended by over 200 people and the evening started with a very spectacular drumming display. The national president followed the Lord Lieutenant by speaking about the activities of the organisation and he was followed by Alan Titchmarsh who told us that this was his first event on the Island since he gave up being High Sheriff 18 months ago. As usual he was most amusing but also poignant. It was a very good evening and one which I hope has made a substantial sum for such a good cause.

22 October: Townswomens Guild Federation Lunch at the Channel View Hotel, Shanklin After a very good lunch I had been invited to speak about the activities and history of the High Sheriff. There were nearly 80 ladies and I was the only "boy". I managed to speak about my subject without sending all to sleep. It was a very jolly occasion and there was a great atmosphere. There was a raffle and the Federation very kindly donated the proceeds to a charity of my choice. I chose the Children's Society as they are currently working with children's centres on the Island and which had been written up in the County Press that day.

21 October: High Sheriff's Trust Meeting One of the regular High Sheriff's Trust Meetings took place at Newport Police Station and useful discussions took place. We would like to modernise the Trust Deed but that is proving quite difficult with the Charity Commissioners. Gay Edwards and John Matthews are on the case.

Community Fund Reception The Community Fund supports local organisations and has distributed substantial sums of money on the Island in the last year. It was good to meet a good number of those beneficiaries and it was interesting to learn about their organisations and how they used the money. One never ceases to be amazed by the amount of hard work that is done by volunteers on the Island.

20 October: Citizenship Ceremony At County Hall This was the first of these to be held in County Hall and it was held in the Council Chamber. Peter Grimaldi DL represented the Lord Lieutenant, Ian Stephens, Chairman of the Council the community and I was there as High Sheriff. Six people became British citizens. As this was the first in County Hall it was very different from the previous ceremonies in Northwood House and no doubt arrangements will settle down as it was not as convenient as had previously been the case.

CCTV Suite I visited the CCTV suite and was given a very informative tour of this important facility that is helping to reduce criminal activity on the Island.

18 October: The Law Service At The Minster, Newport All previous Sheriffs say that this is the most nerve-wracking part of the year – they are not wrong! Thanks to the efficiency and attention to detail of Eve Miller, the Courts Manager, with assistance from John Matthews, the Under Sheriff, the Court staff and church wardens, the service ran very smoothly. There were a few moments of nervousness when the printers were slow producing the service sheets but they arrived on the Friday morning. The Revd. Canon Michael Weaver, my chaplain, had drafted the service which was approved by the Arch Deacon and the Bishop. It was an honour to have His Honour Judge Field and His Honour Christopher Clarke there and particularly special for the new Bishop of Portsmouth to come and preach. The West Wight Singers provided the choir and they sang beautifully and the service was started by a solo by Anna Leggett, a young soprano with a lovely voice. After the service there were refreshments in the Minster but it was a bit crowded for much circulation.

Gill and I entertained the judges and others to lunch at the Isle of Wight County Club and judging from the letters that we have had everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

In Court With Judge Henry It is traditional that the High Sheriff sits with the sitting judge on the day of the Law Service and this I did. Gill sat in the public gallery and we endured the graphic details of an alleged rape case.

17 October: Age Concern and Relate Isle of Wight Lunch at Haseley Manor A very well attended fund raising lunch, raising much needed money for these two organisations. I was asked to say a few words and after a delicious lunch prepared by a team of volunteers, the main speaker was John Matthews, HM Coroner, and a he gave a most amusing and informative talk about the role of the coroner and delved into the history of the office. I hope that the whole event proved to profitable.

16 October: Island Launch of The Poppy Appeal The Vice Lord Lieutenant, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Guy Acland, and I were asked to attend the launch of the Poppy Appeal which took place this year in the Square at Yarmouth. There was a good marching display and turnout of banners and a short service was led by The Reverend Canon Jim Buckett, Chaplain to the Royal British Legion. Sadly there was a poor turnout by the public possibly due to poor publicity being given to this event. After the formal part of the parade, we repaired to the Yarmouth Institute for refreshments. We were glad of the warmth of the Institute and a delicious buffet had been prepared for us.

15 October: Athelhampton – Western Region High Sheriffs Association Meeting Susie Sheldon, in nomination for 2011/12, Nick Hayward, in nomination 2012/13, John Matthews, the Under Sheriff and I all attended this meeting. It was well attended by most of the High Sheriffs in the Western Region and all current Sheriffs were asked to say a few words about what they had been doing in their year. The High Sheriff of the City of Bristol had raised £50,000 at one evening's concert. It was a good opportunity to meet other Sheriffs and for the future Sheriffs to get to know each other. After a very good lunch the presiding judge of the Western Circuit, His Honour Judge Royce, gave a most amusing speech. This was followed by a talk about Crime Watch by the police constable who runs it and the Under Sheriff of Hampshire spoke about the changing role of the Sheriff and Under Sheriff. This was third of such meeting and I think that it is a great help about half way through ones year.

13 October: Lord Lieutenant's Awards Evening This took place at the Royal Yacht Squadron Pavilion and it is an evening when awards are made to mainly uniformed organisations. Awards are given for long and meritorious service. The Lord Lieutenant appointed three new Lord Lieutenant's cadets. There was some very good music during the interval by three sisters who are all gifted. I was asked to present the award for meritorious service over many years by a police constable who is a neighbourhood officer in Cowes. After the awards had all been presented we moved from the chilly marquee section into the main part of the pavilion for a very good supper.

10 October: Law Sunday at Winchester Cathedral I was asked to take part in the service to mark the opening of the Law Year in Winchester. The Cathedral was full and as the service was sung matins, the music was lovely. The sermon by the Bishop of London was one that should be heard widely and I believe that this is to be published on the cathedral website in due course. After the service, for the first and probably only time, we were in a police escorted motorcade to the court buildings. The traffic was stopped for us and we went through red lights with impunity. There was a reception in the court building and an opportunity to meet a good number of judges, former High Sheriffs of Hampshire. After this we were entertained to lunch by the Mayor of Winchester in the Mayor's Residence. We drove the Bishop of London from the reception to the lunch venue and had a very brief opportunity to talk to him about the Island. He told us that he had been round the Island on a ship but had never visited. He was very interested in the specific problems of the Island. A most memorable day.

9 October: Shanklin Rotary Club "Dragons' Den" I was asked to be one of the dragons to ask questions of the four finalists in the competition to received the most generous sum of £25,000 for their charity. Four dragons undertook the questions after each organisation had made a five minute presentation. The applicants were all very worth while and deserving but only could receive the money. The members of the Rotary Club voted in secret for the winning organisation. I made a short speech to thank the Club for their brilliant idea and then presented the winners with the "bag of gold". There is no doubt that the four organisations were all very worthy finalists. From the presentations the needs of the people that these organisations support was made very clear and I hope that they will benefit from assistance as a result of the explanations that they gave during their presentations and questioning.

7 October: HTP Awards HTP is a major trainer and works with people of all ages and this year they have been working with people as young as 14 years old. We had a very good lunch at the Albert Cottage Hotel, prepared by some of the "graduates" of HTP and this was followed by the presentation of a number of awards and I was asked to present the awards to the two top students. HTP does not just work on the Island but has contracts in Hampshire and elsewhere in the south east. It was good to hear of the success and growth of an Island based organisation. They were inspected by OFSTED in 2008 and received an "outstanding" award which is the highest that can be given.

6 October: NHS Awards Evening Held at the Medina Theatre, this is an opportunity for the NHS to recognise valuable contributions by their staff to the success of the healthcare on the Island. There was a very good buffet in the interval and it was good for me to be able to catch up with some of the people who had worked for the Community Healthcare Trust when I was chairman. Despite all the one hears, the morale of the NHS Isle of Wight is obviously high.

3 October: Charity Picnic and Auction for St. Catherine's School and Ventnor Rotary Club This was held in the events centre at the Yacht Haven at Cowes and before picnic lunch we were entertained by a wonderful group of young musicians who get together every Saturday to make music. There was a silent auction as well as a normal auction together with other fundraising. The auction went well and the auctioneer managed to extract a lot of money. This is being split equally between the two organisations and they raised something in the region of £10,000. It was a most enjoyable day and nobody seemed to feel any pain at parting with their money!

2 October: ASTO To the Royal Yacht Squadron followed by breakfast at the Royal London Yacht Club. I was asked to take part in the starting of the racing of various classes of sail training yachts and was privileged to fire the starting gun for the last race. After this we repaired to the Royal London for a very good breakfast and a presentation by Simon Dear about the work with young people on the Island. This event is very well supported by sponsorship and some of those taking part had not been on a boat before Friday when they sailed to Cowes. In the evening there was a prize giving event which unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a prior engagement. I understand that it was well attended and greatly enjoyed.

Rotary District 1200 Conference at Bembridge I was asked to attend and address he delegates to this conference who came from the Somerset and Bristol areas and to give them a brief resume of the role of High Sheriff and tell them a little about the Island. I had a difficult "slot" as I followed two presentations, one by the RNLI with a splendid DVD showing some of the conditions that these volunteers have to contend with and the other a presentation by the local representative of "Help for Heroes". We had lunch with some of the members who were all enjoying their visit to the Island, many of whom had not been here before.

Bentley Owners Club We were entertained to dinner at the Royal Hotel Ventnor and in return I sang for my supper. The club was visiting the Island for the weekend with some wonderful cars and the owners are all so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their cars. They had a series of visits arranged but the weather was appalling. Driving home from the dinner we heard that St. Catherine's on the Isle of Wight was the wettest place in the country, this we can believe as the rain seemed to be of monsoon proportion. However I do not think that it spoilt their weekend but I would think there had to be a lot drying out of these valuable vehicles to be undertaken when they got home. The dinner at the Royal was superb.

1 October: Isle of Wight College HRH the Princess Royal was visiting the Island and it was an honour to be part of the receiving party when she came to the College to open the new sixth form building. Before she came to the college she had visited the prison to see some of the workshops refurbishing wheelchairs. Debbie Lavin, the principal of the college made a speech in which she paid tribute to those involved in the construction of the new building, which had been completed in eight months. Not without some nail biting moments in the last week or so before the royal visit. The Princess Royal toured the building and met a good number of students who were all thrilled to meet her. The only down side to the visit was the weather with very heavy rain and a strong wind but did not detract from the visit.

Back to the top


29 September: Camp Hill Prison I was asked to go to the prison to be part of the supervision of the Prison Council elections. This is the second year of such an event and the inmates stand for four individual areas of concern. This year, not only were the inmates voting but members of staff as well. The Council is elected on a proportional basis so that the interest group with the highest number of votes has the highest number of seats. The Council meets regularly and brings to the attention of the governors matters of concern. This has proved to be very successful and it was good to be present at the count. The tension in the room was very similar to that for the General Election. 71% of those eligible to vote did so – this is a higher proportion than those that voted on the Island in the General Election. After the election result was announced there was a buffet and a chance to talk with some of the inmates. During the count, to fill the time, a group of musicians played and afterwards one person was playing the piano and he is obviously very gifted.

26 September: Winchester Cathedral A special service had been organised to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Army Cadets. The service was attended by the Lords Lieutenant of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and also the High Sheriff of Hampshire. There was a good turn out of cadets from a wide area including a good number from the Island. As is to be expected of services in Winchester Cathedral, the music was spectacular and a very good sermon from the Chaplain to the cadets. After the service there was a tea party in the Great Hall and the round table was much admired. The cakes were delicious and there was a good opportunity to talk to the leaders and cadets. A fitting way to mark 150 years of this movement that has done so much for young people.

25 September: Quay Arts NADFAS had organised a reception and display of pictures done by the pupils of St. George's School. The pupils had previously visited the gallery and had seen paintings on display and had then produced their own versions of many. Their work was fascinating and it was good to be able to speak to some of the artists who had obviously had great pleasure in producing and displaying their work.

24 September: Medina Theatre Newport – Presentation for Road Safety We attended one of the sessions that were put on by the Road Safety team for young people just at the “starting to drive” stage of their lives. The theatre was full and the presentations, together with personal experiences were given by a road traffic officer, a paramedic, a fire office, a charge nurse from the A & E department of the hospital. They did not hold back in what they said and the affect on the audience was profound. It came as a great shock to the young people to realise just what a devastating affect the death of a young person in a road traffic accident on such a wide group. It was made all the more poignant when a recording of an interview with a father of a 16 year old who was killed was played. It is to be hoped that this campaign will result in a reduction in the carnage caused by speed, alcohol and momentary lapses in concentration. It was very hard hitting and the atmosphere in the theatre changed dramatically from the noisy, bubbly young people who arrived to the very sober and quite distressed people who left. It may be very hard but let us hope that the message gets through and is long lasting.

Shanklin Conservative Club I was asked to go the Club which was taking part in the MacMillan Nurses Big Coffee Morning. This is something that the club has supported for a number of years and they have raised large sums of money. The number of raffle prizes had to be seen to be believed and the main prize, given by the club was flat screen television. I was asked to say a few words.

UKSA – Fishbourne Sailability I was asked to attend the presentation by the Lord Lieutenant of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to the Fishbourne Sailability Club. A very well deserved award. The club is doing so much good for people with disability. There were presentations from several people including from a teacher at St. George's School and the benefits that the young people derive from getting afloat is wonderful. Now that they have moved to the UKSA there is an opportunity for greater use of the boats but that of course will also mean the need for more volunteers.

23 September: Best Kept Village Awards – Arreton Village Hall I was asked to present awards to the best kept villages and also to say a few words about how important it is that our villages are kept in fine fettle. It is clear that these events are very important to the Island and that there is great pride in the villages that win.

22 September: Youth Inclusion Forum I chaired a meeting of the Youth Inclusion Forum at the Fire Headquarters in Newport. A fairly short agenda gave us the opportunity to discuss future activities of the forum in the light of the expected funding cuts.

20 September: Southampton Employment Tribunal As cases relating to employment law on the Island are held at Southampton, I was invited to visit the tribunal. I had a very interesting day but did not hear any cases to conclusion for various reasons, not least of which is court step settlements, under estimation of time needed for the case. There is a very busy court and a heavy work load. One case that was put off was refixed for three days in February, the nearest convenient dates for the parties.

19 September: The Minster Church, Newport A service had been arranged for the Bishop to be welcomed to the Island. Less formal than the service in Portsmouth Cathedral but very impressive nevertheless. The service included prayers being read by young people from two of the schools in Newport and he was welcomed amongst others by clients of Westminster House.

18 September: Ryde School Speech Day We were invited to the speech day and the prizes and main speech were to be made by Shirley Robertson. The headmaster and chairman of governors made very interesting speeches and Dr. England was obviously very proud of the achievements of his school. Unfortunately, due to the necessity to get to Portsmouth for the installation of the Bishop, we had to leave before hearing Shirley Robertson's address. There were excellent presentations from pupils on what the school had achieved during the year. The young people have such confidence in speaking to a crowded hall.

Portsmouth Cathedral We attended the introduction of Christopher Foster as Bishop of Portsmouth. I processed with the High Sheriff of Hampshire and we were among the first to officially greet him as Bishop. In his sermon the Bishop made it very clear why he had not wanted to be enthroned and he did not have the doors of the cathedral closed for him to knock on the door, as he felt that the doors of the church should be open at all times to everyone. There was a reception afterwards in the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club which gave us the opportunity not only to speak with the Bishop but to meet and converse with his wife Sally. It was a great honour to be part of the ceremony for the new Bishop.

17 September: Newport Police Station I had arranged to spend the evening with the police and from 6pm until 8pm I spent walking on the beat around Newport with a neighbourhood officer who very obviously had a good rapport with the local people, particularly with the youngsters. I walked miles but learned a lot.

On returning to the police station I then joined one of the Safer Neighbourhood patrols in the big van. There are six police officers and a sergeant in the van and they patrol, tending to end up outside the clubs late in the evening. After the briefing we went out in the van, firstly to Cowes looking for a person who had gone missing. Two officers and I walked through the cemetery, the police officers jumped the wall but I noticed that the gate was open!! Fortunately the missing person had returned home. On our way back to Newport the officers moved on some young people who were drinking around a bonfire by the river and when leaving there the van was “carved up” by a motorist without lights and who was eventually detained and found to be substantially over the drink drive limit. I went through the process of him being breathalysed in the station and being charged. He was also found to have no driving licence, no insurance and no MOT. His car was therefore seized.

Back on the road to Ryde and we walked Union Street and the Esplanade by the clubs and pubs and it was very quiet. Four officers were left in Ryde and the sergeant, one officer and I then went to Sandown where we observed one of the clubs with young people coming out to smoke, make phone calls and walk on very wobbly legs. It is amazing to see the young women in their very short skirts sitting on the pavement, in the cold, smoking. There was good humour with the clubbers but I suspect that this might change at closing time – 3am. Back to the station at 2am and then home. A very interesting evening.

15 September: Citizenship Ceremony at Northwood House The Vice Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council, Anne Longford DL and I attended the last of the Citizenship Ceremonies to be held at Northwood House. Four people became British citizens and we had an interesting conversation with them after the ceremony over coffee. In future, I understand that these ceremonies will take place in the Council Chamber of County Hall. The Registrars Department will be moving to Seaclose into part of the ground floor of what is currently used by the Planning Department. It would seem that the wedding room is going to be very small with very little space for witnesses – what a shame.

14 September: Isle of Wight County Press Gill and I were invited by the Chairman and Managing Director to lunch preceded by a visit to the offices of the County Press. We met with their reporters, photographers and many others who are involved with the production of the newspaper. The change in technology has revolutionised the production of the paper, which is now printed on the mainland and news until very close to the print time can be incorporated. Lunch was served in the boardroom and we had a very interesting conversation with the editor and assistant editor as well as the Managing Director and Chairman. We came away having learned a lot.

11 September: Lake Middle School We met a party of approximately 20 children and their 3 teachers from Romania, who were visiting the Island on a trip organised by the Island Rotary Clubs. There had been a selection process for the children to come and one of the important criteria was their ability to speak reasonable English. Their ages ranged from 10 to 16 years old and they could all converse reasonably well. Talking to the teachers the children have to learn a foreign language or languages from an early age. Due to the pressure on the schools the teachers have three shifts of pupils each day, 8 – 12, 12 – 4 and 4 – 8. A long, tiring day. The visitors were obviously having a good time and were entertained by their Rotarian hosts.

10 September: UKSA – Prince's Trust I was asked to make presentation of awards to the young people who had taken part in a week's course called "Get into Maritime". A good number of young people had come to the Island and had their first experiences afloat. This included kayaking, driving a rib, sailing dinghies and on a big yacht where they spent a night in Yarmouth. They all explained what they had done, how much they enjoyed it and how much they had learnt. They all had achieved RYA qualifications in power boat level 1 and other certificates. I was very pleased to meet these youngsters and to give them their awards. One of their instructors who is now an integral part of the UKSA team had started his career in such a course, not that long ago. All the young people thought that they would want to come back.

Harwood Court, Queen's Road, Shanklin – Abbeyfield I was asked to the official opening of this magnificent new building providing 16 self-contained flats. The building replaces a former Abbeyfield home that was demolished to make way for this much bigger facility. The opening was scheduled to be undertaken by the Right Honourable Baroness Bottomley but unfortunately she had to cancel as she had to attend a funeral. The opening was therefore undertaken by Andrew Turner MP. Before Andrew Turner officially opened the home the vice chairman explained the background and how the funding had been arranged due to a very generous bequest. It was good to meet some of the residents of varying age and who are obviously very happy with their new homes.

9 September: Opening of the Ryde Cemetery Heritage Centre The Council, funded by the Lottery Heritage Fund, has completely refurbished the chapel and bier house, together with the gates at the east and west sides of the cemetery and the cemetery has been dramatically improved. The work has developed as it progressed, the original intention was to replace some rather poor railings in Pelhurst Road but eventually something in the region of half a million pounds has been spent and mostly using Island craftsmen. The Chairman of the Council, who is the ward councillor, Councillor Ian Stevens told us the background and then declared the new heritage centre open.

5 September: 125th anniversary service for SSAFA at St. Catherine's Church, Ventnor A very special service to mark 125 years of support for former members of the armed services. The church was very well attended and the Revd. Graham Morris gave his usual excellent sermon whilst the main part of the service was taken by the Archdeacon. After the service coffee and cakes were served. The church itself has recently been refurbished with a superb oak floor. All the pews have been removed and the church can be used very flexibly and in common with many churches much of the stone work to the tower needs repair and I understand that this will cost in the region of quarter of a million pounds.

4 September: Lake Middle School I had been invited to meet the Romanian school children who were visiting the Island on a trip organised by the Rotary Clubs of the Island. There was a marvellous demonstration by the marching band and after they had done their main performance they invited the children and their teachers to join them in their marching and to try some of the instruments. They all thoroughly enjoyed that and were very enthusiastic. In order to come on the trip the children had to have a reasonable command of English and this they did. It was very interesting to talk with them and their teachers and we learnt a lot about how life has changed for them since the fall of the communist regime. For example there are three times as many pupils as can be accommodated in the school and the solution to this is to have three shifts. Children come in from 8am – 12, second shift from 12 to 4pm and third shift from 4pm to 8 pm. Only four hours a day for the children and a long working day for the teachers. The Rotary Club of Ventnor is seeking to get a water supply into a school in Romania which has been built without water or sanitation and the village people have to get their water from a spring – oh how different our lives are and don't we take it all for granted.

Apollo Theatre We had been invited to the players gala night and to watch a performance of Arthur Miller's "The Price". The play had a cast of four and most of them were on stage for the whole time. Their performances were extremely professional and the whole evening was most enjoyable. The play was followed by refreshments. This event marked the opening of their 39th season and it is to be hoped that they will continue for many years to come.

3 September: Holy Trinity Church, Bembridge – Memorial Service for past High Sheriff H. A. Bowring Mr. Bowring who was High Sheriff in 1987 had recently died and I attended representing the Sherivalty. There was a good number of past High Sheriffs as well. Henry Bowring was High Sheriff at the time of the election in 1987 and also with the great storm in October. He had organised a fund raising event to take place the day after the great storm which took away the marquee and all electricity in Bembridge but the party still went ahead with the support of the local community by candlelight. The family spoke very eloquently about him. Apparently he had had a troublesome stammer but had managed to announce the result of the election without hesitation – a great feat for him.

1 September: Newport Methodist Church for Service of Welcome for the new Superintending Minister The church was very full and with the sermon and introduction undertaken by the overall superintending minister. I was asked to say a few words of welcome of behalf of the Isle of Wight community and the Revd. Mark Whatson spoke on behalf of the Churches Together in West Wight. After the service there was an opportunity to meet in the church hall.

Back to the top


29 August: Royal Victoria Yacht Club – Book Launch I was invited to the launch of a book written by one of the members of the club who had undertaken a great deal of research into the holding of the sailing events for the 1908 Olympic Games which were run by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club when they had their premises in Ryde. An interesting tableau was put on and I learned a lot about the history of this club and its involvements with Olympic sailing. Unfortunately Gill and I had to leave before the end of the tableau to get to our next appointment.

RNLI Yarmouth Gill and I had been invited to be on board the Yarmouth Lifeboat when it was doing the annual exercise at Muddiford. Before we went down to Muddiford we went into Lymington to pick up a family of mother, father and two children who had won a ride on the boat. The Lymington ILB and the Muddiford ILB joined in the exercise close to the beach and with the SAR helicopter winching a crew member on to the aft deck of the lifeboat. It was blowing quite hard with a fairly rough sea. The ILBs did some wave jumping behind the lifeboat and the coxswain of the lifeboat demonstrated just how manoeuvrable and powerful it is. On the way back I got to drive the lifeboat from Hurst to Lymington, including going up the river and Gill drove from Lymington back to Yarmouth. Howard Lester was right by our side! Coming into the harbour at Yarmouth it is amazing how inattentive some of the yachtsmen were, even with the lifeboat close to them – it is hardly inconspicuous. We learnt just how important it is that life jackets should be worn with crotch straps to keep the life jacket properly in place. This resulted in a trip to Harwood to buy crotch straps for our life jackets which are now duly fitted.

26 August: Coroner's Court with the Coroner, John Matthews I had been invited to sit with the coroner on three cases that he heard. One of which was very sad for the family as the husband of the deceased had come under suspicion that this might have been a major crime. Fortunately it was not so but naturally the family was very upset that there had been these suspicions. Two other cases were also sad but less traumatic. After the cases the coroner very kindly entertained me to lunch.

25 August: Meeting with senior officer of the Isle of Wight Council, County Hall I met with the strategic director with responsibility for education to explore with him the changes to the running of high schools that will take effect from next year. The council is very pleased with the improved GCSE results this year and it is hoped that having got to the average for the country results will continue to improve.

24 August: In court with Judge Price An interesting case that had not started in front of the jury in view of legal argument about the admission or inadmissibility of some evidence. A lot of legal arguments put forward.

23 August: Carisbrooke Castle – Garden of Remembrance The Garden of Remembrance for those fallen in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts will be established in the garden of the castle. In order to give this some publicity well in advance of 11th November the County Press took photographs and has published an article about it. The garden is a very peaceful place adjoining the chapel and it is hoped that people will find this an area of peace and remembrance.

21 August: Vectis Quilters' Exhibition at the Botanic Gardens, Ventnor I was invited by the quilters to the preview of their bi-annual summer exhibition and to judge the best entry into their competition. I undertook this with fear and trepidation as I know nothing about quilting. I think I got it right as I left in one piece! The quilts were very varied in design but all were beautiful, with great artistic talent and skill displayed. I hope that the exhibition gets the support that it deserves. I understand that they will be giving demonstrations during the period of the exhibition which is staffed entirely by volunteers.

17 August: Brading Big Dig We had been invited to go back to see the results of the excavation and we had a very good guided tour of the excavation and Sir Barry Cunliffe's expectations had been more than met. Artefacts from varying periods had been uncovered, including iron age pots, bronze tweezers, a very pretty brooch and a complete cremation pot. All the items recovered had been removed from the site for conservation and will be returned for display in due course. It was fascinating to have explained the methods of excavation undertaken and it was done in such a way that areas were left undisturbed for future exploration. I understand that the finds take the dating of the occupation of the site back several centuries. It was a great privilege to have all this explained to us and to see the work being undertaken so carefully.

15 August: Brighstone Branch, Royal British Legion Drum Head Service With the Lord Lieutenant I was asked to be present at this service which marks the 65th anniversary of the ending of the war with Japan. It was a very hot day and the Medina Marching Band put on a very fine display as did the Isle of Wight Gun Dog Club before the service. The Lord Lieutenant and I both read lessons as part of the service conducted by the Arch Deacon, Caroline Baston. A good turn out and the service was followed by an excellent tea.

12 August: Yarmouth Carnival – Harbour Sports I was asked to present the prizes for the many rowing, paddling and other races held in the harbour and which are contested with great enthusiasm. Most of the competitors end up thoroughly wet and I was pleased to be able to present prizes to, among others, my grandchildren for their achievements!

Ocean Youth Trust Reception The Trust branch on the Isle of Wight held a reception as part of the celebrations of Yarmouth Carnival, marking the 50th anniversary of the Trust and having spoken at their celebratory lunch earlier in the year I was asked to say a few words of support for this organisation. It was also very good to meet one of the young people from the Island who will be taking up a berth later in the year.

10 August: Waterstones – Book Launch A local person has written a rather specialist book on his experiences with rather special motor cars. We were asked to attend the launch of his self published work. It was good to be there as he had been very kind to my father and had undertaken a lot of research into the car racing activities of my grandfather. He had also made my father's day on his 85th birthday by taking him for a run in his beautiful 3 litre Bentley.

1-8 August: Cowes Week This was a very busy week and we attended:
Seafarers' Church Service

Cocktail parties at the Island Sailing Club, Cowes Week Limited, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Royal London Yacht Club, Cowes Harbour Commissioners, Cowes Town Council, Jubilee Sailing Trust.

We went to the Annual Dinner of the Royal London Yacht Club which was a very enjoyable evening.

17th Port Maritime Regiment put on a reception to promote "Toe in the Water", a charity that takes service personnel who have lost limbs sailing. We met several who were racing seriously during Cowes Week, some of whom had never sailed before. A spectacular sky diving team landed very close to the Esplanade. The achievement of "Toe in the Water" needs to be made more widely known.

Back to the top


31 July: The Big Dig at Brading Roman Villa I had been invited to cut the first turf for the third year of the archaeological dig under the supervision of Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe and to say a few words to launch this. Sir Barry is a world expert and he addressed all of us at the picnic and told us of his hopes for the site. The fund raising that has to go on to finance this is immense and it is amazing that they have been able to raise the funds for three years running. I was recommended to come back later in August towards the end of the three weeks of work. It will be interesting to see what has been found.

29 July: The Pavilion East Cowes The Lord Lieutenant was presenting the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to the organisation that runs a very important club for people of all ages, including a gym, fishing trips, healthy eating and cooking and most of this is done by volunteers. The award was a much deserved recognition of the service that is provided to East Cowes.

25 July: St. James' Day, Yarmouth The Town Council has resurrected the fair in the town and I was asked to attend and particularly present the Spirit of Carnival Cup and to say a few words. The town was buzzing and there was much jollity and entertainment.

21 July: Youth Inclusion Forum I took over as chairman of this from my predecessor, Gay Edwards, and this is a very interesting committee. We had presentations from organisations requesting funding and most of the funding was approved.

20 July: All Saints' School, Freshwater I was there to present the Norton Cup to the pupil who had achieved the most. This was presented during the end of term service and everyone was obviously ready for holidays, a very happy atmosphere.

St. Catherine's School, Ventnor To the School Leavers and End of Term Service. This school has a very special feel as it provides special education for pupils with communication difficulties. The chapel is absolutely stunning and the service, taken by the Revd. Graham Morris, was thought provoking yet informal. Those who were leaving told us of their thoughts about the school. Some were going on to further education at college and they all loved being at the school.

18 July: Isle of Wight Open Arts Studio Event We visited several studios and larger premises holding art exhibitions. All had been very well attended and the organisers seemed very pleased with the numbers. A very interesting mixture of talents with painting, photography, pottery, jewellery, sculpture and other skills demonstrated. A very enjoyable afternoon.

17 July: Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Fishbourne We were invited to attend the 30th open day organised by the club for people with disabilities and to give them the opportunity to get afloat. There was a good choice of craft available and the event was very well attended. The organisation and safety precautions were very efficiently handled. Everybody seemed to be having a really good time.

Girl Guides Centenary Camp We were invited to the camp fire at the end of the day. The camp was in a beautiful setting in open countryside near Bembridge and about 200 guides and brownies from the Island were in camp under canvas and there had also been a number of rainbows but because of their age they are not allowed to camp. Unfortunately the coach company had rather let the organisers down and only with some hasty reorganisation were they able to get some of the girls back to camp, albeit over an hour late. The camp fire burnt very brightly and the singing and actions to the songs was very enthusiastic. It was very noticeable that having lit the fire the men let the ladies get the buckets of water for the fire precautions! We are very lucky to have so many enthusiastic guide, brownie and rainbow leaders on the Island and the benefit of camps such as this to the young people is enormous.

16 July: "Yafford International Airport" This day marks the centenary of the first aeroplane landing on the Isle of Wight. It landed near the Needles on the old golf links but the nearest place now available is the landing strip at Yafford. Unfortunately the high wind prevented any of the planes due to arrive to fly in. There was a good party in the hangar and made very special by the presence of the original pilot's daughter. Richard Holleyman had done a lot of research and had put together a most informative display of newspaper extracts, photographs and other information. Ironically the weather on the 16th July 1910 was also very windy.

15 July: High Sheriff Trust meeting Held in the Newport Police Station and with a useful discussion about various matters, including making some financial awards. Frustration was expressed about the attitude of the Charity Commission towards our attempt to update the Trust Deed. We are not giving up on this and a different approach will be taken. It was also a good opportunity to introduce Nick Hayward (in nomination for 2012/13).

Lunch with David Ball, Chairman of Island Games Committee Having met with David at the Primary School Games, I arranged to meet him for lunch to discuss progress of the organisation for the Island Games on the Isle of Wight for 2011 and particularly to introduce him to Susie Sheldon who will be High Sheriff at the time of the Games which will be the largest multi-sport event in the country before the Olympics in 2012 and a very important event for the Island.

14 July: Albany Prison This was my visit to the third unit forming the Isle of Wight Prison and I was given a very informative visit. There is a very busy workshop producing all the furniture for prisons throughout the country and they are very well equipped. I was saddened to learn from the catering manager for all three prisons that none of the food is locally sourced. This is surprising in view of the attempt to reduce food miles and the prison has substantial greenhouses which are heated from the waste from the wood working shop and which could be used productively to produce food for the Isle of Wight Prisons. I understand that until recently most of the vegetables and meat were sourced from the Island but they are now provided from the mainland by a single central contract. I visited the new medical centre which is very well equipped and provides facilities for all three units on the Island.

13 July: Meeting of Crimestoppers Isle of Wight Committee The success of Crimestoppers is remarkable and with the anonymous nature of telephone calls the number of calls has increased and the resulting arrests has also risen. This is well supported by the police and other agencies.

Meeting with the Probation Service I met with the manager of the Island Probation Service and a senior probation officer. We had a good discussion about their operation and their role in supervising released prisoners. From the discussion it seems that all the staff on the Island have large case loads.

12 July: In court with His Honour Judge Pearson An interesting day with several directions and time tables for trials set before the main trial started. Lunch at the Isle of Wight County Club.

8 July: Presentation of the Elizabeth Cross at Osborne House This award is presented to a close relative of a member of the armed services who has died from wounds received on active service. Two were presented by the Lord Lieutenant and these were the first to be presented on the Island. It was very well attended by representatives of the regiments of those who had died and the recipients were very proud to receive the awards on behalf of their family. As these were the first presented on the Island there was good coverage by the press and television.

7 July: Launch of the "Open Studios Arts Event" at the Quay Arts I was invited to the launch of this event and to say a few words to get it under way. This is an initiative by the Isle of Wight Council to promote local artists all round the Island. They are opening their studios to the public. A sample of work was on display. There is such talent on the Island.

6 July: Broadlea School, Lake We were invited to have a further visit to the school to watch the play that the pupils put on of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which included the extra character that had been created by one of the pupils and chosen by us. The whole school was involved and it was most enjoyable The nerves and the enthusiasm of all involved was very obvious.

5 July: Camp Hill Prison I visited the prison and was shown round and had the opportunity of speaking to some of the "inmates". This is a category C prison and the atmosphere is very different from Parkhurst. The gardens, tended by the prisoners, are beautiful.

2 July: Isle of Wight College Award Ceremony For the first time the College was having the Award Ceremony at the Yacht Haven in Cowes rather than the Minster Church in Newport. There was a wide range of achievements being acknowledged by certificates and I was asked to present a new award for the Isle of Wight College's Student of the Year. This person was chosen from all the award recipients and having seen his fantastic progress from redundancy to starting a degree course, it was very obvious why he had been chosen. It was also apparent that his choice was supported by the other students.

1 July: Hampshire High Sheriff's Reception We travelled with the chairman of the Isle of Wight Council to Bishops Waltham and were royally entertained by Alan and Ginny Lovell in the grounds of the ruins of the Bishop's Palace. We were entertained by the quiresters of Winchester College who had the most wonderful voices. A small section of the Hampshire Police Band also entertained us with some very good brass music. The weather was wonderful and we could enjoy the party in the open air, despite the two splendid marquees that had been put up in case of bad weather.

Back to the top


30 June: Visit to Parkhurst Prison Following from the visit I had to the Governor, it was arranged for me to visit the prison and after a meeting with the Director of Residence who explained the philosophy of the prison, I was shown round the prison by one of the senior prison officers. I had the opportunity of speaking with several people on the wings and also to the officers in charge of the wings, who explained how they are working with the prisoners to improve their lifestyles and hopefully to prevent reoffending. The attitude of all the staff that I met is very positive and they clearly understand and share the vision of the Governor as to how to reduce the reoffending rates. A very informative visit.

27 June: Pan Together – Soap Box Derby This is a community event organised by the residents of the Pan Estate. These community activities have changed the area dramatically over the last few years. In addition to the Soap Box Derby there were a number of stalls and displays by the police, road safety unit, advice about loan sharks, play organisations and by Barrett Homes who are now starting the development of the major scheme to build 850 houses and with a biomass heating scheme.

There was a good number of soap boxes, although this is an unfair description of most of them as they are well designed and built carts. The course starts on a scaffolded ramp and the various carts get up to fairly substantial speeds. There were three spills but not too much damage done. It was a wonderful day and everybody seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Their enjoyment was slightly spoilt by the news relayed during the afternoon of the England Football Team's lack of success!

26 June: Primary Schools Island Games – Fairway Sports Centre Four hundred pupils from primary schools all round the Island assembled at the sports complex to take part in these games. The schools had been grouped together to form teams representing various islands who will be taking part in the main games next year. The enthusiasm from the young people was infectious and the opening ceremony was colourful and fun - a small taste of what is to come next year.

There was good support from parents, many of whom were more nervous than their children! Not only was there 400 children there but 150 helpers as well. The weather was wonderful and we had an opportunity to visit many of the sports. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Appley Park, Ryde. I was invited to attend this parade and the Lord Lieutenant took the salute as a very impressive number of veterans marched past, led by three Chelsea Pensioners. After the veterans there was a parade of cadets, the army cadets celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. All were very well received by the crowd and there is no doubt that the people of the Isle of Wight support the armed forces.

After the parade there was the presentation of awards by the Lord Lieutenant and this was followed by a reception and many photographs were taken. The parade seems to be growing as there were more participants this year. We were all very glad of the trees in Appley Park as the afternoon was very hot particularly for those in uniform. Not as hot as our forces in Afghanistan who are contending with temperatures of 50C and they have to be in full battle order – what right do we have to complain about being hot.

25 June: Island Games Reception The organising committee of the International Island Games has been visiting the Isle of Wight to inspect the facilities that will be used for the Island Games in 2011. They were entertained at the Royal Yacht Squadron to dinner and it was good to be invited. The chairman of the International Committee spoke very warmly about the facilities on the Island and was most amusing. We had dinner with representatives from St. Helena and also from Southern Vectis who are organising all the transport of competitors both from the ports of arrival and also during the competition – a very daunting task.

24 June: Community Action Awards Organised by the RCC and with the benefit of substantial sponsorship, the awards for works in the community were presented to first, second and third in each category. The judges had had quite a task in selecting from the many entries submitted and there was a very good explanation of the works undertaken by the recipients. The work in the community by so many volunteers deserves to be rewarded and the Island would be much poorer without all that they do. Besides individual category winners the judges made their task even more difficult by having an overall winner and runner up. The runner up was the Ramblers Association in recognition of their work to install gates to replace stiles, this making footpaths more accessible to wheel chair users. The overall winner was the Street Pastors in recognition of their contribution to the reduction of violence on the streets by those who are leaving clubs late at night.

23 June: Earl Mountbatten Hospice I was invited by the chief executive and the chairman of the trustees to visit the hospice and spent a very interesting afternoon with them. The development of their facilities continues and the rooms that are being refurbished are splendid. There is such a happy atmosphere in the building. It is very clear from our discussions that the trustees have a very well thought through development programme. This includes the purchase a redundant NHS building and its development into a day centre with facilities for treatments, counselling and support for both patients and their families. It is just as well that the hospice is so well supported by the people of the Island as they are dependent on charitable giving to raise two thirds of their budget each year.

Medina Theatre – Ocean World. Some of the middle schools of the Island had come together under the direction of the Music Centre to put on a production of "Ocean World". This is a very challenging musical work which is also very thought provoking as it deals with environmental matters and the oceans. There were some very good photographs used to complement the music and the young people rose to the challenge. There was some splendid solo performances and we came away most impressed by the skills and dedication of the young people and their tutors. It is sad that there was not a larger audience on this first night but hopefully the house was fuller on the second night.

22 June: Buckingham Palace Garden Party We were honoured to be invited to a garden party and enjoyed a wonderfully sunny afternoon in the splendid gardens of the Palace. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip spent over an hour in the heat greeting their guests. We met a number of people from the Island. The traffic to and from London was awful and made us so glad we lived in such a peaceful and beautiful place. Much of the delays seemed to be caused by road works but we did not see anyone doing any work.

21 June: Armed Forces Day Flag Raising With the Lord Lieutenant, Chairman of the Council, Member of Parliament and the President of the RBL, I attended at County Hall when the flag was raised to mark the beginning of the events to recognise the service provided to the nation by our armed force, both now and in the past. Canon Jim Buckett said prayers and the specially designed flag was raised.

18 June: Our Reception at the Farringford After a wonderful spell of warm weather we had some rain in the afternoon but fortunately the weather improved our guests were able to enjoy the wonderful outlook from the Farringford garden. From all the comments that we have had after the event everyone enjoyed themselves and were very complimentary about the "eats". It was only sad that the evening was not warmer.

17 June: A day with the Police Inspector Treagus had arranged for me to have the opportunity of visiting a number of departments at the Headquarters at Newport and also to visit the Traffic Division in Shanklin. I learnt a great deal from all of those that I visited and there is so much more that goes on that the public would have no idea about. In the domestic violence unit I learnt that they are extremely concerned about the continued provision of the refuge, the funding of which is understood to be at some risk. It would be a major problem if this facility ceases to exist on the Island.

After the visits to the departments I spent part of the afternoon out with one of the specialist traffic officers and was very impressed with the way that he dealt with the only one person that we stopped.

16 June: Shanklin C of E Primary School I was invited to launch the reading scheme at the school that the Extended Services Manager had organised to encourage reading and parental involvement. Unfortunately the headmaster was not present but there was a good number of pupils and their parents. The programme was aimed around "Charlie Cook's Favourite Book" and the story teller told the children the story. I am not sure how enthusiastic the school was about the programme and we received a very lukewarm welcome. It is a shame as the children only get one go at education and their enthusiasm needs to be sparked at an early age which is what Helen Abbs is seeking to do.

12 June: Brading Haven Yacht Club We were invited to take part in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Club. I had been there before to give some professional advice and it was nice to be able to go back and help the celebrations. There was a sail-past of representative boats used by the club, followed by a very interesting talk with some old photographs about the history of the club, its founding fathers and development. The Commodore, Bryn Davis, also spoke about the club's activities with young people and the coaching and training that goes on and the development proposals that they have to replace some of their older buildings. After this we were entertained to a delicious lunch. The spirit in the club is obviously very high and we had a very enjoyable day.

11 June: St. Catherines School Ventnor We were invited to visit and to learn about the school. We were greeted by the head, the chairman of the trustees and governors and the fund raiser. The school has very ambitious plans for redevelopment and a very active programme to raise the funds is in place. We were shown the designs of some of the buildings that they would like to have and we also discussed the teaching and developmental programmes that they have for the students who are mainly from the mainland and who come with communication and language difficulties. We were shown round the school and had the opportunity of seeing some of the classes which are small with very enthusiastic staff helping to develop the potential of these young people. Part of our tour took us into the chapel which is regularly used and the local vicar, Graham Morris, takes services. The altar frontal is absolutely stunning.

After our tour we had school lunch – delicious - and the opportunity to talk to some of the young people. A very enjoyable and informative day.

10 June: Vectis Radio at Quay Arts This is a comparatively new on-line broadcasting station and I was pleased to visit and to be interviewed. It is remarkable how the broadcasting can be undertaken from a very small room and largely with just three computers. An interesting interview with Ian Mack who is very keen to get the views of young people and I promised that I would pass this information on to organisations dealing with young people. This I have done since my visit and I hope that he will have some success.

8 June: Isle of Wight Crown Court I sat with the Registrar, Mr. Draycott QC. After some legal discussions about the availability of counsel, the jury was empanelled. The case was anticipated to last until Friday with Counsel for the defence having to be in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday and therefore the case would be part heard and continued on Thursday. I learnt some interesting language and an insight to the lifestyles of some younger people, which are very different from those that we had when we were younger. Mr. Draycott and I had lunch in the Isle of Wight County Club and I was able to show him some of the records of the club.

4 June: Old Gaffers Festival Gill and I were invited to attend the opening ceremony for the ever popular Old Gaffers Festival. I was invited to say a few words before the official opening. The hard work of the committee was very well rewarded by the number of old gaffers attending, well over 100 boats in the harbour all dressed overall. The weather forecast for the weekend was good and Friday was hot and sunny. I do not think that I have seen so many people in Yarmouth for the opening and the street entertainment, stalls, etc. were well supported. Very kindly Gill and I were entertained to lunch at the George Hotel.

2 June: Citizenship Ceremony, Northwood House, Cowes The Lord Lieutenant, the new chairman of the Council and I attended this at which seven people became British Citizens. As always a very interesting group of people who came from several different countries. It was good to be able to talk to them over a cup of coffee afterwards.

1 June: Freshwater Mothers' Union I was invited to address the Mothers' Union and to explain to them the role of the High Sheriff and its history. After a short service and the formal business meeting of the Mothers' Union, I spent nearly an hour explaining the background, history and the modern role. After I had finished speaking there were a number of questions and comments that have been made subsequently indicate that many people were surprised that there was no state funding and all admitted that they really did not know much about the High Sheriff's role. The meeting was very well attended including visitors from the mainland and some husbands.

Back to the top


30 May: Wessex Cancer Trust Garden Fete in the grounds of Freshwater Court I was asked to open this and originally it was supposed to take place on Saturday 29th but in view of the very bad weather forecast sensibly the organisers postponed it for a day. They were quite right to do so as at the time the fete should have been opened it was pouring with rain. The 30th was bright and sunny and, possibly due to the publicity given to the change of date on local radio stations, attendance was very high. The Wessex Cancer Trust does a great deal for Island residence suffering from cancer and the volunteers work really hard raising funds. The fete was very successful and produced a record result.

28 May: Probation Service Lunch The Hampshire Probation Trust had a information lunch at the Quay Arts to which I was invited and attended with Susie Sheldon (in nomination for 2011/12). This was an opportunity for the Trust to explain their change of working on the Island and also to deal with many queries. They stressed that community pay back and being on probation is not a soft option.

Mottistone Church Flower Festival I was invited to open the Flower Festival and to say a few words. The monies raised are to be split between the church funds and the Army Benevolent Fund, the Soldiers Charity. Mottistione is a beautiful, traditional country church and the flowers were exquisite. Mottistone with Brighstone are sad parishes at the moment following the sudden death of their very popular vicar. Unfortunately I was not able to stay as long as I would have liked as I had another engagement.

Street Pastor Commissioning I was invited to attend the licensing of Street Pastors for Newport which took place in the Minster Church. Street Pastors were introduced in Ryde last year and this has resulted in a dramatic reduction in violent crime and criminal damage. The police attribute this in no small measure to the Street Pastors. Fifteen new pastors were commissioned together with their prayer partners and they will be working in Newport on Friday and Saturday nights. The service was really uplifting and the enthusiasm of all involved is infectious. The service finished with the newly commissioned pastors leaving the church to start their work amidst much applause and cheering. It is hoped that they have as successful results as the Ryde group.

The pastors go out into the towns, armed with chocolates, water and flip-flops. The chocolates to facilitate chatting to the people on the streets, water to dilute the alcohol they have consumed and the flip flops to enable them to walk home! During the service we were told of individual successes where people's lives have been turned round after the loving care of a street pastor. A true example of Christianity in action.

27 May: Crown Court I arranged to sit with Mr. Recorder Blair but the trial that was scheduled for five days had collapsed and the next trial was going to be too long for it to be considered by Mr. Blair and therefore was deferred to a later date. Nevertheless I had a very interesting morning with Mr. Blair and we discussed various matter relating to trials in general, especially as he is a part-time judge and the rest of his time is spent as a barrister practising in the criminal courts. After lunch at the County Club Mr. Blair and I separated and I then spent the afternoon in the Magistrates Courts and learnt a lot.

26 May: Youth Inclusion Forum I have been asked to chair this during my year of office, following Gay Edwards' chairmanship during her year. This is a very interesting group and we had three applications for funding, all of which were well discussed and for worthwhile projects but in some cases more detail is needed before we can make a final decision. All involved in the forum are focussed on diverting young people from going off the rails.

25 May: Broadlea Primary School Following from our previous visit, when "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was read and followed by workshops based on the story I received the entries for three competitions, one for the reception class who had to create a new sweet, one for years 1 & 2 who had to create a new character and one for years 3 & 4 who had to create a new character and write a piece amalgamating that character into the original story. We had to choose a winner for each category and an overall winner. The overall winner's character is to be incorporated into a play to be produced towards the end of term.

The standard was generally very high and it was quite difficult to choose the winners. Each winner received a "goody bag" containing various items of stationery and a book token.

24 May: Albany House, HQ of Isle of Wight Prisons I had a meeting with Barry Greenbury, the governor of the Island Prison which is now a single unit amalgamating the three prisons on the Island. I learned a lot about the bringing together of the three prison units and how management changes are being achieved. We also had a very interesting discussion about the aims and objects of imprisonment and how they are working with the prisoners to seek to prevent re-conviction. I have been invited to attend management meetings and of course to visit the three prisons which I intend to do.

23 May: RMT Union District Secretaries' Conference I was asked to attend the opening of the conference at Yelf's Hotel, Ryde and to say a few words about the Island. This I did and they very generously gave me a donation for the High Sheriff's Trust funds.

21 May: Church View Day Centre, Ventnor Invited to attend their open day to see what services are provided for people with mental health problems. We were able to talk to a number of clients, all of whom benefit greatly from the services provided and there were displays of some of the crafts that are produced. Much of the craft work is of a very high standard including pottery, quilting, photography, needlecrafts and creative writing and other skills.

The staff and clients were very welcoming and they wanted to explain exactly how the clients benefited and how much it would be missed if it was not provided. So many people wanted to talk to us that our visit was longer than anticipated, resulting in a parking ticket!! I hope that the council will be kind as I was on official duty.

19 May: Isle of Wight first Council meeting This was a short meeting of the Council, at which the new chairman of the Council (Ian Stevens) and the Vice Chairman (David Williams) were elected. Tributes were paid to Councillor Arthur Taylor and his wife Doreen for their outstanding service to the Island over the last two years. This was followed by a buffet supper.

18 May: Portsmouth Mayor Making As I did not want to travel on the ferry in court dress, I was able to change in the Lord Mayor's Consort's rooms in the Guildhall. Very comfortable.

After coffee we were ushered into the main Guildhall for the election of the new mayor and deputy mayor for the year 2010/11 and to hear a resume of the activities of the outgoing mayor who had been extremely busy. It was also the 60th anniversary of the twinning of Portsmouth with their German twin town, Duisberg, and the mayor of that city and several other notables were present. Also present was a representative of the French twin with Portsmouth. The Royal Marines provided fanfares and music.

After the Army had returned the keys of the city to the mayor for safekeeping, the Royal Navy presented a ceremonial sword to the mayor for the first time. Both these presentations were done with great ceremony and splendid military precision.

The new mayor presented awards to members of the public who had done much for the community of Portsmouth over many years.

This was a very splendid occasion with a large number of guests, including mayors from nearby towns, together with the Vice Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of Hampshire.

16 May: Walk the Wight I was invited to present some of the medals to those completing the 26 mile walk from Bembridge to the Needles. This is held annually to raise funds for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice and is a major fund raiser for them. There were nearly 12,000 people who had entered they streamed into the Needles Pleasure Park, some with sore feet but all with a great smile and feeling of achievement. Many of the people to whom I gave medals had completed a good number of these events.

It is for raising funds for the Hospice and is very well supported by business sponsors. In addition to the business sponsors, there is huge support from the Rotary Clubs of the Island. The involvement of so many volunteers is further evidence of the general support for the Hospice that exists. Isle of Wight Radio devoted the whole day to covering the walk. The Hospice is very important to people on the Island and the work that it does is greatly appreciated and this is reflected in the support that this event receives.

13 May: Young Chamber Awards Evening Held in the Events Centre of the Cowes Yacht Haven which was very attractively decorated and laid out. The Chamber of Commerce has encouraged Young Chamber Councils in all the High Schools and the Young Chamber events are well sponsored by leading Island firms. The sponsors were invited to present awards for the schools that they sponsor. There were presentations by two schools on what they had done and are proposing to do. The enthusiasm of the young people is infectious and there is no doubt that they are gaining hugely from the experience.

After the presentations Saria Khan, the runner up in the first of the Apprentice series on television, gave an inspirational talk, partly explaining how the Apprentice series is filmed but mostly encouraging the young people to be positive about themselves and to make sure that they have something which makes them stand out when completing their CVs. She made the point several times that whatever you do make sure it is to your best ability. We left feeling quite uplifted about the young people that we had met.

12 May: Citizenship Ceremony at Northwood House Peter Grimaldi DL representing the Lieutenancy, Ian Stephens the Vice Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council and I were present when ten people took their oaths and became British Citizens. Five were from one family. It was good to be able to talk to them over coffee afterwards.

Scout Annual General Meeting. Held in the Newport Scout Hall and attended by scout leaders from all over the Island. The President, Sir Guy Acland took the first part of the meeting before handing over to the Chairman. Interesting reports from the Chairman and from the Hon. Treasurer. After the formal part of the meeting there were a number of presentations for long service, which I was asked to participate in.

After the presentations, Challenge and Adventure gave a presentation on their proposals for a relocation from their existing premises to Corf Camp. This led to a few questions being raised but the general consensus was that the two organisations could mutually benefit from the proposal.

10 May: Portsmouth Legal Service Over by car ferry to Portsmouth and walked to the Cathedral for the service, conducted by the Dean. An impressive procession of judges, lawyers, magistrates, Hampshire High Sheriff and the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. The choir was superb and a very thought provoking sermon by Bishop Selby who has retired to Freshwater. After refreshments in the Cathedral lunch in the Highbury College restaurant and walked back to the ferry through the sunshine.

9 May: End of the Cadet 150 Relay The end of the relay was organised to be in Sts Thomas' Square, Newport at 4 pm and we arrived just before that. The cadets who had taken part in earlier legs were formed up in front of the War Memorial. At exactly 4 o'clock the final squad marched into the Square at the end of the last seven miles. They were greeted with much applause. I had been asked to present medals to all the cadets who had taken part but before doing so said a few words and in view of the sad death of the young sea cadet last weekend we had a minute's silence in his memory.

I then presented the medals and had a brief word with all of them. Having presented the cadets with their medals, one of the instructors, Flying Officer Attrill, was presented with a special award as he had accompanied the cadets for a very large part of the relay and had walked 33 miles. His award was specially prepared by Thorntons and he was told that he should not eat it! At the end of the proceedings the cadets fell out and proceeded to the Drill Hall for much deserved burgers and chips. It remains to be seen how much money they have raised but it makes you proud to meet these well motivated young people.

Guides' 100 walk. I was invited to join the guides on the last leg of their walk that went through each guiding area of the Island and joined them at 6 o'clock in East Hill Road, Ryde for the fairly gently walk down to the LA Bowl where the walk finished. There I signed the Friendship Scroll and a "team photograph" was taken. I understand that something over 400 members of the guiding organisation had taken part, including one girl who was only just 5 years old. The guides and their leaders are so welcoming that it is always a joy to meet with them.

8 May: Cadet 150 Round the Island Baton Relay A specially commissioned baton was presented to the cadets by Gay Edwards and me, which meant that we had to be on Cowes Esplanade at 6.45 am for the cadets to start their round the Island relay at 7.00. A group of enthusiastic young people arrived from the Sea Cadets and set off on the first stage. After a very good breakfast at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club we caught up with them at Jersey Camp where the first change over was to take place. The cadets doing the second leg were in camp for the weekend and were looking forward to their stint from Porchfield to Yarmouth.

Later in the morning we saw the third leg as they passed through Freshwater and they were all amazed at the generosity of the donors. As they went round they were collecting for "Help for Heroes" and SAAFAS, two very worth while charities helping service personnel and those who have served in the armed forces. Despite the weather forecast, the stages that we saw were dry but it rained later in the day.

Isle of Wight Music Centre Summer Concert. A splendid concert was put on by the young people from the Isle of Wight Youth Orchestra, The Isle of Wight Youth Choir, The Music Centre Brass Band, The Music Centre Wind Band and the Music Centre String Orchestra. This was presented in St. Mary's Church Cowes, which was absolutely full. The enthusiasm of the musicians and their conductors and tutors was very apparent and we were given a wonderful varied selection of music. Most of the music had people's feet tapping and the skills of the tutors of bringing out the talent of some very young people was a joy to hear. We will make sure that we get to hear the musicians from the Music Centre again.

6 May: Election Day Having voted, we set off around the Polling Stations, trying to get to as many as possible. We managed 25 out of 71. We tried to get to a mixture of those in major urban areas and the smaller rural places. All reported that there had been a very good turn out and that, in many cases, people were waiting on the doorstep for opening at 7 am. Many of the presiding officers also reported that there had been a good number of young people voting, many for the first time. After a short break at home it was off to the Medina Leisure Centre for the count.

When we arrived there was an air of quiet expectancy and we were able to chat to everyone on the counting tables before they set to work. The first boxes arrived shortly after 10pm and with a steady flow thereafter. Once all the boxes had been verified a short break took place with delicious refreshments and another opportunity to chat.

The hall was laid out to allow the candidates and their counting agents to get round to all the tables to see what was going on but they were not allowed to touch anything. There was quite a crowd of them. When the formal counting of the candidates' votes started there was an air of quiet efficiency and the system worked extremely well. The count finished just before 2 am and then the candidates and their agents were invited to examine the "rack". As there were eleven candidates this took some time and it allowed me time to get into court dress. There were a few queries raised but nothing major. I made the declaration at about 3.15 am which was earlier than forecast, especially as the Isle of Wight has the highest number of registered voters and also had the highest number of candidates – eleven. After the announcement each candidate made a short speech and after I had signed the warrants and certified who had been elected, it was time to leave. Home to bed at about 4.30 am The dawn chorus started shortly after!

It was a great experience and the smooth organisation was very impressive.

5 May: Breakfast at UKSA Breakfast was to introduce a new scheme designed to provide mentors and tutors to people who are in need of help to keep on the straight and narrow. Those in attendance included the head teacher of Carisbrooke and acting head of Medina High School, the head of Cowes High School and a good number of other interested parties. The mentors will be provided by Vestas and while, of course, it is designed to help to generate self worth, it is also very good for the mentors as well as they learn skills that they take back to their company. The benefits of mentoring were outlined by one of the speakers and Superintendant Norman Mellors gave a very informative talk with some good news about the decline of reported crime on the Island, down by about 20% but he also pointed out that crimes of domestic violence had remained stubbornly unaltered.

This scheme is going to be run through the UKSA who find that taking people out on the water is a very good way of teaching people to cope for themselves and thus improve their self reliance. However, as always, the scheme needs sponsorship. They are funded for 2010 but need financial backing for 2011.

After the breakfast and presentation John Ely gave me a quick tour of the facilities of UKSA and his enthusiasm is infectious. As I left I noticed that there were a number of name badges on the table for people who were obviously expected but had not turned up. It is a shame that they missed a very informative couple of hours and a delicious breakfast.

2 May: Commemoration Service for the ORP Blyskawica in Francki Place, Cowes This commemoration marks the defence afforded to East and West Cowes by the crew of the Polish destroyer Blyskawica in 1942, when they broke admiralty rules as the ship was in dry dock for re-fit at J S White, the yard where it had been built. They provided anti-aircraft fire to help repel the German air attack on the towns. Not only did they use their guns to great effect but those members of the crew not involved in the firing were active ashore in helping to rescue the people affected by the bombing.

Although it is 68 years ago the debt that East and West Cowes owes to the ship is well remembered and marked. There is a close liaison with the ship which is now a museum in Poland.

The weather was awful, wet, windy and cold but there was a good turnout of people huddled under umbrellas. In view of the recent air crash that killed the president of Poland and most of the leaders of the armed forces and many other dignitaries, the event started with the laying of a wreath and a minute's silence.

The events of 4th/5th May 1942 were recounted by the mayors of East and West Cowes and by the chairman and vice chairman of the organising committee. Wreathes were laid in commemoration by several representatives including one on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council by the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Arthur Taylor and one by the daughter of the captain of the Blyskawica, Janina Doroskowska.

The service of remembrance was led by the Rev. David Hinks and Father Michael Purbreck and music provided by the Royal British Legion Band.

After the formal part of the proceeding was over we repaired to the British Legion Club in Cowes for refreshments. The Sea Cadets were all seen to be drinking hot chocolate – they needed it to warm up.

1 May: Little Canada, Wootton We were welcomed by the Manager of Little Canada and Guiders Sue Berry, Janet Lovell and others who had organised the "Great Guide Getaway" for 700 guides and their leaders from all over the British Isles as part of the Centenary celebrations of the Girl Guiding movement. The guides had been divided into "teams" with only one or two from each unit in each team to encourage them to make new friends. This was obviously working. There was a wide range of activities available including quad biking, dragon boat racing, zip wire riding, abseilling, a climbing wall and assault courses. The full time staff at Little Canada were very skilled in bringing out the best in their "charges", with much encouragement, gentle teasing and laughter. We were very lucky with the weather and after walking round all the activities we were entertained to tea and delicious cakes. This gave me the opportunity to speak with the leaders and their drive and enthusiasm is obvious. The prospect of organising an event for 700 from all over the country must have been very daunting and required a great deal of time and effort but there is no doubt it was very successful. I was told that with more voluntary leaders there would be more guides as there is always a waiting list, I did not realise that there are 10 million guides throughout the world. One of the people we spoke to had undertaken some amazing trips and challenges which had had a great affect on her life.

One of the many things I will remember is watching Hannah nervously climbing a vertical pole about 30' high and rocking in the wind. She had to get to the top and stand on a tiny platform. After much encouragement by her team mates and leaders she made it, much to her joy and great relief and applause from everyone else (she was of course on a safety harness). It was wonderful to see an obviously very nervous girl overcome her fear and we were all shaking with her!

Back to the top


29 April: Broadlea Primary School, Sandown I was asked to launch their programme based on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" which is going to encourage reading and creative writing. The fairly new head teacher met us and explained with great enthusiasm what was intended. I had been asked to attend in court dress and to say a few words about how important it is to read books or to be read to as it encourages imagination – unlike the television. As usual the sword was of great attraction as were the buckles on my shoes. There was a good number of children and their parents present together with older children from the Middle School. The Story Teller had us all enthralled as she gave a very exciting rendition of the story, interspersed with songs. After this the children and adults broke into groups where they took part in relevant activities, eg chocolate or biscuit decorations, sweet bag decoration, puppet making and hat making. Every child went home with something edible and a balloon. Before I could go round the workshops I was interviewed by three pupils from the middle school who were doing a project for their school newspaper.

The next stages are for the younger children to make a new sweet, the middle ones to think of a new character and the eldest to write a new scene incorporating the new character and sweet. The enthusiasm was infectious and we look forward to returning to do the judging and to seeing the play as a result.

26 April: Shanklin Rifle & Pistol Club AGM We were invited to attend the AGM and to present the prizes. A very well attended meeting and many prizes awarded. Yet another well-kept secret of the Island in that the Club has at least two members shooting at international standard, one of whom is hoping to be selected for the England Commonwealth Games Team. After the formal part of the meeting Gill and I were shown round the range and given the opportunity to shoot. We fired both air rifle and air pistol. I outscored Gill with the rifle and she substantially outscored me with the pistol. We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening – success breeds enthusiasm!

25 April: St. George's Day Parade for East Wight District Scouts To St. Saviours Church Shanklin to take part in the St. George's Day Service. The scouts had marched through the town to the church and paraded their banners. There was about 250 people in the church and the beavers, cubs and scouts reaffirmed their promises. The Vicar, Father John led a very informal service which included the dignitaries leading the singing of "Puff the Magic Dragon" – all had been issued with sock puppets of dragons. The young people obviously enjoyed themselves as it was good to be able to talk to a few afterwards. The number of scouts has increased during the past 12 months and if more leaders could be found even more young people could join this very worthwhile organisation.

24 April: St. George's Day Celebrations To Northwood Park, Cowes for the opening of the celebrations organised by the Rotary Club of Cowes. There was a very good parade from East Cowes, led by a band and carnival procession following on. After words of introduction the event was formally opened by two presenters from Isle of Wight Radio. A wonderful site, well supported and brilliant sunshine.

Induction of new minister to Castlehold Baptist Church After a period without a pastor, the new pastor, the Rev. Adrian Redfearn was welcomed and inducted into his church. A good number of dignitaries present and a very uplifting service. The singing and music was superb. The new minister was suffering from a bad back having hurt himself playing football with some of his new congregation. After the service we were entertained to a superb tea and had the opportunity to look round the wonderful facilities that the church enjoys.

23 April: St. George's Day Concert To the Memorial Hall, Freshwater for a concert by the Slipshod Singers reinforced by a superb Polish pianist, soprano, jazz group and string quartet. The music was very mixed from Chopin to modern jazz but the 150 people present all thoroughly enjoyed it. The evening resulted in substantial funds being raised to be shared by the RNLI and Freshwater Lifeboat.

21 April: Northwood House Citizenship Ceremony Geoffrey Hughes DL, Councillor Arthur Taylor chairman of the IW Council and I were all present at the ceremony when four people became British Citizens. They have all had to work very hard to pass the necessary tests and probably know more than most of the rest of us about the British Constitution, etc.

20 April: Ocean Youth Trust 50th Anniversary Lunch After the opportunity to have a good look round the John Laing and to learn from the skipper all about the various groups that they take sailing we had a very good lunch in the Royal London Yacht Club. I was the third speaker and could reflect on the way the world has changed in the 50 years since the Trust started. They do a wonderful job taking people from all sorts of backgrounds and "challenging them". The skipper explained just how this helps the young people to develop.

Ryde Sea Scouts Naval Inspection Every two years there is a formal inspection of this unit and this year it was undertaken by a Major of Marines. The cadets from the rawest recruit to the most senior cadet were all on parade and put on impressive displays, including relay races, involving knot tying and concluding with arms drill. The inspecting officer was most impressed. They obviously are a very enthusiastic group.

17 April: Isle of Wight Radio 20th Anniversary Went to the studios where they were marking the 20th anniversary with a party. Fundraisers were there from the Hospice encouraging people to sign up for "Walk the Wight". A very good barbershop quartet singing live on the radio and very interesting conducted tour of the studios by John Hannam who has been presenting a programme since the station opened. A brief live interview for me and even briefer for Gilly. Very well attended and a great atmosphere.

Trefoil Guild AGM and Lunch To Hasely Manor for the AGM and lunch of the Guild. A very happy atmosphere and a commendably brief but very well run Annual General Meeting. The Chairman's report made it clear just how much activity takes place and with obviously huge enthusiasm. After a splendid lunch a very amusing talk from Ann Chance on how she learnt to fly after she had done a sponsored parachute jump. It is wonderful to see the continued comradeship that exists. The meeting concluded with the singing of "Taps" which was quite moving.

16 April: Isle of Wight Council Chairman's reception to mark Cadet 150 A good gathering at the Seaview Yacht Club to mark the 150th anniversary of the Army Cadets. A lot of support from the mainland as well as from the Island and apparently a rare opportunity for all the leaders of the various units on the Island to get together. The Chairman of the Council, Arthur Taylor, made a short speech in which he emphasised the importance of the discipline that is taught to the young cadets and how important that can be for the rest of their lives.

15 April: High Sheriff's Trust meeting Held in the police station but due to holiday and other commitments we were only just minimum quorum. An interesting discussion about the success of the High Sheriff's Award evening. A bit worried about the shortage of funds and the principle agenda item for the next meeting must be how we can improve our financial position. Despite the low balance we still managed to make some small but meaningful awards.

13 April: Election Writ To County Hall by 9 o'clock to receive the special delivery of the Election Writ. Very impressive document which has to be guarded with care. I will have to complete this with the name of the successful candidate and it then gets returned by the same special messenger to Westminster. Discussed the process of the election with the Council's officer and learnt a lot. He has warned me that it is likely to be a very long night on the election day.

Crimestoppers Attended a meeting of the Crimestoppers board held in the RCC offices. Very interesting meeting and with a lot of very good ideas to help people provide confidential and anonymous information. This has resulted in quite a high rate of success in the detection of crime.

8 April: Isle of Wight Radio In a response to an email that I had received, we called in to the radio station at about 12 o'clock. They were very enthusiastic and greeted us warmly. Gilly was shown round one of the studios while I gave a recorded interview. They are getting very enthusiastic about their 20th birthday party on the 17th April.

Isle of Wight Society Invited to attend the Isle of Wight Society's awards evening at the Brading Roman Villa. As I had known and worked with Tommy Bodycomb who had been a leading light in the organisation from its inauguration, I was asked to say a few words about her and to present the prizes awarded in her memory. The chairman introduced all the entries for the Conservation Awards with a very interesting presentation and good photographs. Vice Lord Lieutenant, Sir Guy Acland, presented most of the prizes. The enthusiasm of the Society is infectious and it is very good see the superb work that has been done to restore many old buildings that without the attention they had received would have been at severe risk of getting beyond repair.

7 April: Fishbourne Sailability Club Reception to mark their move to the UKSA from The Royal Victoria Yacht Club. I was asked to name their new rib "Zebedee" which will be a safety boat to their specially constructed boat "Dougal" which is designed to take people in wheelchairs. A double first. My first engagement and the first time that I have named a boat. Being a RIB we did not break the bottle on it and I probably poured too much precious champagne over the bow. It was good to meet some of the people who go out on the boats and to hear from them just how much pleasure they get from being afloat. The Club and UKSA seemed very enthusiastic about their move.

6 April: Declaration Day Met with the press at 9.45am and gave a quarter of an hour interview to the reporter. Those involved in the Declaration assembled at 10 o'clock in the Unity Hall for coffee. Those involved:
Mr. Justice Christopher Clarke, His Honour Judge John Dixon, The Lord Lieutenant – Major General Martin White, Mr. Stephen Howe , Mrs. Gay Edwards (High Sheriff 2009/10), Mr. David Edwards (sword carrier to Mrs. Edwards), Canon The Reverend Michael Weaver, John Matthews (Under Sheriff) and me. Emma Petty of the Court had organised things very well.

Processed across St. Thomas' Square, through the Tuesday market with some interested parties looking on. Photographs in the west porch of the Minster and then in to the church. Just over 100 people present.

    High Sheriff Peter Kingston with his wife, Gilly, before the declaration.
    [click image above for larger version]

Sir Christopher Clarke gave a very interesting introduction and explained the historic role of the High Sheriff before the Reading of the Declaration by me. It went well with no stumbles. John Matthews made his declaration as Under Sheriff. I then said a few words about my hopes for the coming year. Proceedings finished with very thoughtful prayers from the Chaplain.

Processed to the County Club for coffee and cakes. Quite crowded but I think everyone enjoyed themselves, the grandsons were a great help handing round the refreshments. Traffic in Newport very bad and everyone delayed getting out of car parks etc. Back to the Royal Solent Yacht Club at Yarmouth for lunch for 25 guests. A very jolly affair and the Yacht Club did us proud.

Back to the top