New High Sheriff of Northumberland aims to support volunteers in 'challenging times'

The new High Sheriff of Northumberland will strive to support volunteers who help others ‘in the challenging times we are experiencing’.

Tom Fairfax, from Mindrum, was installed in the role, which dates back to Saxon times when the Sheriff was appointed to maintain law and order.

Today, it is an unpaid voluntary role, appointed by the Queen, and concentrates on upholding and supporting the judiciary, police and law enforcement agencies, emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups, as well as supporting and encouraging the voluntary sector.

Tom said: “It is a great honour to be appointed High Sheriff of Northumberland - particularly at this moment.

The installation ceremony for the new High Sheriff of Northumberland, taken before social-distancing advice was issued by the Government

“My aim, over the coming year, is to add value where I can. I am particularly focused on helping those volunteers who step forward to serve and help others, particularly in the challenging times we are experiencing.

“Duty of Service is, perhaps, an old fashioned concept, but it lies at the heart of so much of the incredible work that is going on at present to combat Covid-19.

“Whilst we are experiencing challenging times, we are lucky to be part of a stunningly resourceful community, and with determination, common sense coupled with a touch of imagination and lots of hard work, there is little we cannot achieve.

“I am aware that we haven't seen the worst of this bug - and that we are going to have to keep our nerves as conditions become increasingly challenging. If everyone pulls together, we can and will get through this.”

He acknowledged: “These extraordinary circumstances mean that my year in office is likely to be very different to a High Sheriff's normal year.

“Having just taken post I am working with a range of people to find ways to support the ‘doers’ in the community safely, without getting in the way of critical operations.

“I have already been humbled by the stunning and imaginative initiatives that are springing up to address the current lockdown. People getting on with life - not, perhaps, as usual but stepping forward and getting on with things anyway.”

Tom takes on the position from Lady Harriet Joicey, from Etal.

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