High Sheriff Magazine

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High sheriff W e s t M i d l a n d s 2 0 2 4 / 2 5 DouglasWrightMBEDL of the M a r c h 2 0 2 4 - 2 0 2 5 Scan to visit the website of the High Sheriff

Order OF


Reading of the warrant of the King’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council

Declaration of the Incoming High Sheriff

Appointment of the Chaplain to the new High Sheriff

Appointment of the Under Sheriff

Vote of Thanks to the Past High Sheriff & Response

Prayer led by the Chaplain Retirement

His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands

Sir John Crabtree OBE

A Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit

The Honourable Mrs Justice Tipples DBE

The Recorder of Birmingham

His Honour Judge Melbourne Inman KC

The Under Sheriff

Mr Greg Lowson

The Incoming High Sheriff

Mr Douglas Roberston Wright MBE DL

The Incoming Chaplain

Rev Canon Becky Stephens





High Sheriff of the West Midlands 2024-2025

Declaration Ceremony on Tuesday 26th March 2024 12.30pm held at Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts Birmingham, B4 7NA followed by a celebratory reception held at at John Cadbury House, B4 6QD


High Sheriff Theme

Recognising and encouraging people will be my theme over the year (as we celebrate the West Midlands 50th Anniversary). I will blend this into my role as High Sheriff which today involves a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions including: support for His Majesty’s High Court Judges and attendance at Royal Visits in the West Midlands. I will also be supportive of the police, emergency services and encourage the probation and prison services. I intend to prioritise visiting voluntary sector organisations which are involved in crime reduction and social cohesion. I truly hope by championing such causes that it will influence others to play a part in their respective communities to be engaged in a way that makes the West Midlands even more cohesive, and a safer place to live and work.

Across the theme of people, I will be seeking to promote and encourage young people to become cadets of our emergency services and St John’s Ambulance. It’s vital that we signpost the great life skills and opportunities that arise from becoming a cadet and then the opportunity to move into important roles such as a Police Officer, Firefighter or Paramedic to name but a few.

Throughout the year we will share these opportunities by championing their work and also telling their stories within our digital communications and across our social media platforms

I’m also going to be showcasing the work of our magistrates across all of our boroughs and actively encourage more people to become magistrates. Simply put we need more people to step forward to become magistrates

There will be two formal occasions where we will recognise special people’s contributions at a summer reception (date to be announced) and then on the 4th of December 2024 when I will be hosting a Multi Faith Thank You Carol Service in Sutton Coldfield. On both occasions I will present High Sheriff’s 2024 Awards to those who have made significant contributions to the betterment of the West Midlands, whether through acts of bravery, selflessness, or dedication to a cause in either public service or the voluntary sector.


HIgh Sheriff Introduction fromthe

I was born in Bromsgrove in 1964 and was adopted at a week old. I have spent the majority of my working life in the West Midlands. There are further details in the magazine about my own life which, it is fair to say, has been varied and not without significant challenges. Since I set up my own business in 2002, I have tried to use my success as a force for good to influence the lives of those less fortunate. This will be at the heart of how I operate as the High Sheriff of the West Midlands.

It is a great honour for me to have been chosen for this prestigious role It is a particularly special year as the West Midlands celebrates fifty years in 2024 Throughout my year I will be endeavouring to spend my time equally across all the seven boroughs which make up the West Midlands Contained within this magazine there is listing of all fifty previous High Sheriffs which makes very impressive reading and includes two of the philanthropic Cadbury family and our own Sir John Crabtree, who delivered the most excellent 2022 Commonwealth Games, amongst many other wonderful individuals To even be associated with such people is something I’m both flattered by and makes me mindful of the task ahead

Please enjoy reading this magazine which contains lots of facts about the role and its history. I’m sure you will have many questions about my role and the history of the High Sheriff.

I would be incredibly grateful if you can help to educate the younger generation about the role. Please do reach out to us via our newly-created website, for which the QR code is on the front page, and I would be delighted to visit you. I’m very lucky to be ably assisted through my year by Becky, Greg and Kayleigh within their respective roles (more of which is explained later on). A huge thanks to all the exceptional cadets who I have appointed to join me throughout the year I’ve been impressed at how they all care about creating a real difference to society at such a young age Indeed, one has already saved a person’s life!

Finally, my charity for the year will be Kids’ Village, a wonderful enterprise with which I am personally involved as Chairman We are seeking to build the UK’s very first respite holiday village for children, and their families, with critical illnesses in a beautiful place just outside Lichfield Further details of this amazing charity are on the back page of this magazine, again with a QR code to their website I am certain the charity will appreciate your support in whatever way you are able to offer it

It’s going to be a wonderful year and I would love you to be part of my journey. I look forward to meeting you in and around the West Midlands. Doug


High Sheriff Office ofthe

The role of a High Sheriff is a blend of tradition and evolution Except for the Monarchy (which in fact took a break under Oliver Cromwell), the Shrievalty is the oldest secular office in the country and the only secular post surviving from Saxon times, when Ine (688-725) the ruler of a small kingdom based on Winchester provided in his laws for a “Scir Man” to resolve disputes As the principal representatives of, and agents for the Crown, the Sheriffs’ powers included law enforcement, judging cases in the ancient ‘Court of the Hundred’, collection of taxes and levies on behalf of the Crown, and responsibility for Crown property in their Shire. During Norman and Plantagenet times, the Sheriffs’ role became key to the emerging British justice system, a system more advanced than its European counterparts. The Sheriffs’ powers grew over time and are evidenced in the 1215 Magna Carta, of the charter’s 63 clauses at least 27 relate to the role of the Sheriff.

A gradual erosion of powers followed over time with the introduction of an exchequer to take on tax collection, a system of itinerant judges, the introduction of a LordLieutenant to take on military matters and a Constabulary to take charge of police and prisons Finally in 1883, the care of Crown Property was transferred to Crown Commissioners. Today, the role is wholly ceremonial, but carries the status of being the King’s highest judicial officer in the county. An annual appointment, it remains voluntary, unfunded and non-political and involves a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions, including: support for His Majesty’s High Court Judges when on Circuit, and attendance at royal visits in the county These days, however, High Sheriffs play an increasingly active and supportive role within their counties both in relation to the police and emergency services and in lending encouragement to public sector agencies such as the probation and prison services and to voluntary sector organisations involved in crime reduction and social cohesion.


The appointment of the High Sheriff

Annual panels in each county identify suitable, experienced and public-spirited individuals who are prepared to take on this highly time-demanding, self-funded post On the 12 November each year, three names from each county are read out by the King’s remembrancer, in the Royal Courts of Justice before The Lord Chief Justice, a Lord Justice of Appeal, and two High Court Judges. In March the roll of High Sheriffs in Nomination is submitted to the King who ‘pricks’ (appoints) the High Sheriffs for the ensuing year. Elizabeth I is believed to have originated the practice that continues to this day of the Sovereign ‘pricking’ a name on the Sheriffs roll with a bodkin. The reason for pricking through vellum was that the choice was not always a welcome honour An ink mark could be erased but a hole in the skin (vellum) would be permanent

The Warrants of Appointment are received in the post The role of High Sheriff is a direct appointment of the Sovereign by Royal Warrant and the appointed nominee takes office by making a statutory declaration of fidelity.

Roles & responsibilities of the High Sheriff

The office of High Sheriff is a single-year Royal appointment. One High Sheriff serves each of the counties of England and Wales every year The main focus of the role is to support the Crown and the Judiciary In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector

As the office is independent and non-political, High Sheriff’s have a unique opportunity to work for the good of their communities, bringing together a wide range of people within the community they serve. As High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Douglas Wright will recognise those individuals and groups in the County who make a real difference to their communities, enhancing the economic or social life of the region.

The prime responsibilities during the Shrieval year are to:

• Uphold and enhance the ancient office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to the High Sheriff’s County during his year in office

• Lend active support to the principal organs of the Constitution within his County – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, and church and faith groups

• Ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges, to attend on them at Court and to offer them hospitality where appropriate

• Support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions he may call on him as appropriate.

• Take an active-part in supporting and promoting the voluntary sector, giving all possible encouragement to the voluntary organisations within the area.

The Official Blazon of the badge

“Two swords in saltire Argent hilts pommels and quillons Or that in bend couped at the point charged upon on Oval Azure environed by a Wreath composed of Oak Leaves Gold with in chief and in base a Tudor Rose Gules upon Argent barbed and seeded proper and in the flanks two Leeks in saltire also proper the whole ensigned by the Royal Crown proper.”

The High Sheriff’s badge

The Royal Crown is incorporated in the High Sheriffs badge by Royal Licence granted in 1991 The ermine border around the base of the Crown symbolises the judiciary. The Shrievalty Association of England and Wales is one of few institutions that are licensed to use the Royal Crown in this way. The swords are in saltire (crossed as an ‘X’ shape) with the blunt sword representing Mercy and the sharp sword representing Justice The Tudor roses symbolise England and the crossed leeks symbolise Wales. The wreath of gold oak leaves represents the national tree of England

Court dress of the High Sheriff

The court dress remains largely unchanged since the early 19th century when Queen Victoria called for a new design. It consists of a black or dark blue velvet coat with steelcut buttons, breeches, shoes with cuted steel buckles, a sword and a cocked hat A lace jabot is worn around the neck Some High Sheriffs wear their military uniform instead of court dress.



High Sheriff
2024 1990 2019 1988 1992 2015 2022 1970-1975 1981-2002 2009-2015 1964 1986 1989 2009 2016 2020 2023 1976-1981 1991-1995 2002-Current I married my wife Kate My son, Toby, was born High Sheriff of the West Midlands 2024/25 Appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in the West Returned to work after occupational therapy Joined McDonald’s as a part time cleaner and progressed to hold various senior corporate positions Awarded Global RMHC award for national and Named McDonald’s Corporate Employee of the Year - The President’s Award Named as Midlands EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List Appointed Special Adviser to Miss Macaroon CIC Awarded Honorary Doctorate by Aston University Appointed President / Chairman McDonald s Marketing Cooperative controlling a £245 million budget Awarded Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham City University Born My daughter Vicky was born Attended Bedford Modern School Governor at Claverdon Primary School Appointed Chairman of Kids’ Village Charity Awarded honour of being named as McDonald’s Global Franchisee of the years 2015 & 2016 Appointed Board Member of Greater Birmingham Became a business owner operator at McDonald’s buying my first franchise (now owning 26 restaurants) Hospitalised for a year after breaking my neck in a Helped open a Ronald McDonald House adjacent to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Midlands international influence Chorister at Durham Cathedral Appointed Chairman of RMHC UK in Birmingham car accident Chamber Commerce


Doug is the Chief Executive Officer of his franchised restaurant company which operates twenty-six McDonald’s restaurants across the West Midlands Doug joined McDonald’s as a cleaner the day before he left school in 1981 with just one ‘O’level and worked his way up in the McDonald’s Corporation

He became a McDonald’s franchisee in 2002 and aspired to own two restaurants He now owns and operates one of McDonald’s largest franchised organisations employing over 2,900 people which contributes over £50m each year to the West Midlands economy Doug has received numerous ‘McAwards’ including being named one of their ‘Global Franchisees of the Year’ in 2016

He has proudly been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both Birmingham City University and Aston University and was named the regional EY Entrepreneur of the year in 2019. He is a Patron of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and mentors many local businesses and young entrepreneurs. Doug is very passionate about using his business success as a force for good to help others both in civic and charitable ways He is a Deputy Lieutenant in the West Midlands

He was given a national honour in the Queen’s last birthday list when he was awarded an MBE in June of 2022 ‘for services to the economy and charity in the West Midlands’

Doug dedicates a lot of time to charity work. His inspiration comes from being involved in a car crash at the age of twenty where he was left partially paralysed for three months He was the Chairman of the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham for six years, a charity providing a home away from home to families whilst their children were being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The charity raised over £10m during his tenure as Chairman

In September 2023 he was appointed Chairman of a new national charity called Kids’ Village which will create a holiday village for sick children and their families on a beautiful site in Lichfield Doug also supports Birmingham Pride, Sense, Birmingham Hippodrome, 15 grass roots football teams, Birmingham Youth Awards, and he is also a special adviser at Miss Macaroon.

Doug is married to Kate and they have five children Sam, Jack, Vicky, Toby and Syd. They also have two wonderful grandchildren, Gabriel and Edie The Wrights live in Aldridge, some nine miles from Birmingham city centre. They enjoy watching sports, travelling and eating out.


High Sheriff Appointments

The High Sheriff’s Chaplain

Becky graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Mathematical Sciences and subsequently trained to be a teacher of mathematics. She enjoyed many years of teaching in secondary schools across Birmingham, including Small Heath School and King Edwards High School for Girls. Following the birth of her second child, Becky took time out of work to be a full time mum to Kate and Harry. These years were some of the most beautiful and formational of her life.

During this time, Becky began to volunteer more at her local church, Holy Trinity Sutton Coldfield. Holy Trinity played a huge part in her life during these years and it was here where her call to priestly ministry began to crystallise

Becky trained for ordination at The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, and was ordained in Birmingham Cathedral in 2014. She served her curacy in Coleshill and Maxstoke and her first incumbency in the parishes of The Whitacres, Lea Marston and Shustoke Becky became the Vicar of St Peter’s, Maney, in March, 2020, just before the first national lockdown

In September 2023, Becky was licensed as the Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity, Sutton Coldfield, alongside her role in Maney.

Another role Becky holds is the Bishop of Birmingham’s Adviser in Women’s Ministry. This is an area she is hugely passionate about since the Church of England holds varying opinions regarding the role of women. In this role, she strives to safeguard the representation of women in the Church, whilst advising on the Guiding Principles which ensure women and men can flourish whilst ministering alongside one another.

Becky recently graduated with an MA in Theology, where she focussed on the Church of England’s liturgy of the Eucharistic Prayers. Ongoing study feeds her desire to be fully equipped to offer spiritual and theological leadership in her parishes

Becky says she is excited to have been appointed as Chaplain to the High Sheriff and that it will be a great privilege to journey alongside him during his year in post.


The High Sheriff’s Under Sheriff

Greg Lowson

Greg Lowson was appointed as the Under Sheriff of the West Midlands in 2014 by the then High Sheriff Tim Watts, and he has been retained by each successive High Sheriff of the West Midlands since then. Greg recently retired as the head of Pinsent Masons' Birmingham office after 31 years as a partner and a 41-year legal career He is the Chair of The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and is a non-executive director of Pertemps Network Group.

Clerk to the the High Sheriff

Kayleigh Humphries

As a clerk to the High Sheriff,

Kayleigh’s main responsibility is to provide administrative and personal support to the High Sheriff and assisting in the smooth functioning of the office. Her duties include managing correspondence, scheduling and coordination of engagements, record keeping, social media content and research and analysis

Kayleigh enjoys spending time with her two children, travelling and baking.


Gain new skills and unique experience while supporting your community.

Magistrates are volunteers with no previous legal experience, who come from all walks of life They make vital decisions on a variety of cases in the criminal court and family court – helping to protect, enhance and transform people’s lives

Whatever your level of education, if you’re aged between 18 and 74 and you want to challenge yourself, develop new skills and create positive change for the good of your own community, you can be a magistrate.

Our justice system in England and Wales has been founded on fairness and openness These are key traits for making important legal decisions – decisions which are made by dedicated volunteers who are from, and truly understand, their local community

What about me, as an employer?

Your employee will need to volunteer for at least 13 days a year plus annual training. There are a few options as to how this can work, and the benefits to your organisation can be huge

For more information, scan the QR code below.


Padraig Manon Isabelle Harris

Hello, I'm Padraig and I'm a St John Ambulance Cadet. I joined St John four years ago and have really enjoyed my experience. I've been given many opportunities to utilise my first aid skills at multiple different events including the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in May, 2023, I feel a great sense of pride when I put my skills into practice and find it very rewarding when I get the chance to help others. As well as learning and putting into practice first aid skills

I am also a representative for youth voice in our organisation as Vice Chair of our Regional Youth Forum. In this role I help encourage all young people to stand up for what they believe in and help provide them with a platform to have their voices heard. I feel very honoured to have been made High Sherrif's cadet and look forward to the year ahead!

How can you support the St John Ambulance Cadets?

Hello, I'm Isabelle and I'm a St John Ambulance Cadet. I joined St John at the age of seven and eight years later I'm still loving every moment of it I find it rewarding when helping people in need but St John isn't just about providing first aid. I am part of the Young Responders Project which teaches young people first aid in school and in the community. St John Ambulance has given me some fantastic opportunities and later this year I will take on the role of High Sheriff Cadet. I am so excited to see what the next chapter in my life as a cadet holds

Get Involved

Become a Youth Team Volunteer and teach young people, of all different backgrounds, vital and life-changing first aid skills We have two programmes – our 5-10 year-olds are called Badgers and our 10-17 year-olds are called cadets.

You'll help their confidence, self-discipline and, teamwork skills, and have some fun along the way

We're looking for Youth Helpers and Youth Leaders You’ll start off as a Youth Helper and, if you fancy it, you'll get the opportunity to become a Youth Leader, with some additional training and experience.

Class of 2024/2025 High Sheriff Cadets

Class of 2024/2025 High Sheriff Cadets

Hello, I'm Amelia and I’m a Fire Cadet for West Bromwich Fire Cadets. I joined Fire Cadets in 2022 and I've enjoyed every moment of this experience, I find it very rewarding when helping people in need, but Fire Cadets isn’t just about learning useful life skills, it is a happy and friendly environment and it’s a family I’m proud to be apart of I look forward to taking on this exciting challenge of becoming a High Sheriff Cadet for the West Midlands

Hello, my name is Katie and I joined West Bromwich Fire Cadets in 2022 at the age of 13. I have learned a wide range of skills from being a fire cadet including First Aid, Fire and Water Safety It's a privilege to have been chosen to represent West Midlands Fire Service and Fire Cadets for the High Sheriff I look forward to undertaking this opportunity and my future as a cadet.

How can you support the West Midlands Fire Service Cadets?

Become a Fire Cadet Instructor

As a Volunteer Fire Cadet Instructor you will support young people, aged 11 to 18, in their Fire Cadet activities at fire stations or in the community

Activities include exercises on the drill yard, fundraising and social events The scheme aims to provide an opportunity for young people to develop skills, knowledge, leadership and team qualities, and to become confident, active citizens As a Volunteer Fire Cadet Instructor you will be part of an instructor team supported by an Instructor in Charge

Volunteer Fire Cadet Instructors need to be 18

There’s a recommended commitment of weekly evening meetings (approx. Three hours) held at selected fire stations, with the possibility of weekend activities including residential stays and fire station open days

To register your interest for becoming a Fire Cadet instructor, please scan the QR code

Amelia Gatford Katie Holmes
Get Involved

Previous High Sheriffs of the West Midlands

Douglas Wright MBE would like to thank the outgoing High Sheriff for his friendship and support over recent months Doug looks forward to continuing the good work the High Sheriff has accomplished with the West Midlands’ Judiciary, emergency and voluntary services

Mr Michael L Cadbury, DL 1974-75

Mr Edwin H Moore 1975-76

Lt Col John H C Horsfall, DSO, MC 1976-77

Mr Michael G. Southall 1977-78

Lt. Col. Lawrence W. Wilson, TD, JP 1978-79

Mr Anthony R Wyldebore-Smith 1979-80

JP Mr David Williams-Thomas, DL 1980-81

Mr David G Justham 1981-82

Mr Anthony F. Birtles 1982-83

Mr Hugh Kenrick 1983-84

Mr Derek M P Lea 1984-85

Mr Richard L Harris 1985-86

Mr William E Husselby, OBE, DL 1986-87

Mr Patrick W Welch 1987-88

Mr Francis C. Graves, OBE, DL 1988-89

Mr David C Johnson 1989-90

Mr David L Burbidge, OBE, DL 1990-91

Mr Bruce W Tanner, DL 1991-92

Mr J Anthony Jefferson 1992-93

Mr John I. Westwood 1993-94

Sir Adrian Cadbury, CH, DL 1994-95

Sir Frederick Crawford, DL 1995-96

Mr John D Saville, JP, DL 1996-97

Mr E Michael Worley, CBE, JP 1997-98

Mr W. George K. Carter, CBE, JP, OSt 1998-99

Mr Roger S. Burman, CBE, DL 1999-00

Mr Jeremy F. Woolridge, CBE, DL 2000-01

Mrs Tessa King-Farlow, DL 2001-02

Mr Gary J. Allen, CBE, DL 2002-03

Mr Michael R. N. Evans, OBE C St.J 2003-04

Mr John L. Andrews, MBE, DL 2004-05

Mr Roger J Dickens, CBE, DL 2005-06

Mr John R A Crabtree, OBE, DL 2006-07

Mr Peter Tomlinson, DL 2007-08

Mr Byron P Head, DL 2008-09

Mr Paul Bassi, CBE, DL 2009-10

Ms Anita Bhalla, OBE, DL 2010-11

Mr David Grove, OBE 2011-12

Mr Stewart Towe, CBE, DL 2012-13

Dame Christine Braddock, DBE, DL 2013-14

Dr Tim Watts, DL 2014-15

Mr Jonnie Turpie, MBE, DL 2015-16

Mr Keith Bradshaw, OBE, DL 2016-17

Mr John Hudson, OBE, DL 2017-18

Mr Chris Loughran, DL 2018-19

Mr Michael Kuo 2019-20

Mrs Louise Bennett, OBE, DL 2021-22

Mr David Moorcroft, OBE 2022-23

Mr Wade Lyn, CBE DL CD 2023-2024

15 2023-2024 MrWadeLynCBEDLCD

The High SheriffS Charity of the year

Kids’VillageisaimingtobuildtheUK’sveryfirstrespiteholidayvillagejustfor childrenwithcriticalillnesses.

ThecharitywasfoundedbySamanthaFletcherandherfamily.Attheageofnine,Samwasdiagnosed withcancer.During18monthsoftreatment,Samandherfamilyhadtheopportunitytovisitaholiday villageintheUSAthatprovidedrespiteforsickchildren

Inspiredbythehopeandpositivityengenderedbyherownexperiences,Samsubsequentlyestablished Kids’Villagewiththeintentionofbuildingthefirstsuchholidayvillageforchildren,andtheirfamilies, intheUK

Throughmuchperseveranceanddetermination,Kids’Villagehasnowsecuredplanningpermissionto buildthevillageonabeautiful30-acrecountrysidesiteintheheartoftheUK,justoutsideLichfield, whichwillgivetheopportunityforover4000peopletostayatKids’Villageeachyear

InordertomaketheKids’Villagedreamareality,thecharitynowneedstoraise£5millionthrough capitalappealtobuildit Anexperiencedteamhasbeenassembledtotacklethischallenge


TolearnmoreabouttheexcitingplansofKids’Villageandhowweintendtomakeapositivedifference inthelivesof1000sofsickchildrenpleasecontactourCEOatinfo@kidsvillageorguk

Moreinformationcanalsobefoundatwww.kidsvillage.org.uk follow us @KidsvillaGecharity

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