A FARMER says his year as High Sheriff has opened his eyes to the good being done in communities.
Roger Howell handed over the title of High Sheriff of Durham to his successor at a ceremony held at Durham Crown Court.
The 59-year-old, who is from Castle Eden, spent his year in office carrying out the pledge to champion crimefighters and unsung heroes of society, which he made as he took on the position.
He said: “It’s been an interesting and busy year and I will always remember it as being a privilege and opportunity to put something back in to the community which has given me so much since I arrived here from South Africa 30 years ago.
“The highlight has been seeing what an enormous amount of work people are doing around the county.
“It’s really encouraging to see what people put into making things work and making it a better society to live in.”
He added many showed “courage, bravery and tenacity” in their efforts, with firefighters, police, probation service, prison officers, community groups and the armed services among those he has worked with.
He hopes to continue some of the work he carried out and has been invited to join the County Durham board of Crimestoppers.
Lord Barnard, Henry Vane, has been appointed as the new High Sheriff of Durham in the presentation, which was overseen by the Honorary Recorder of Durham, Judge Christopher Prince.
The office of the High Sheriff dates back to Saxon times and once saw those in the post take responsibility of maintaining law and order on behalf of the King and collect taxes for the Crown.
In Durham, part of their role was to protect the area from invading Scots, with the post one of 55 across the country.
Now the volunteers attend Royal visits and support and entertain Her Majesty’s High Court Judges when on Circuit as well as offer their backing to the emergency services and encouragement to people who work to reduce crime and make their communities better places to live and work.