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News and Events

When 'life' happens - sometimes good, sometimes not so good - we want people to know as soon as possible.   This page shares news about the Association, past and current Sheriffs, the Cities and Towns to which they belong and any events that may be of interest to our Members. 

Pink Gradient

Firstly, updates from the Chair of NACTSEW, David Brown.  Read his latest newsletter from Spring 2022 using the link below. 

York's Assize of Ale 2022

By Licence of his late Majesty, Henry III (son of King John - Magna Carta), the King’s Sheriff of York gives Notice to her lord, the Mayor, of her deeming it right and proper to hold an Assize of Ale.


This medieval Customs & Excise tradition has been carried out annually (covid excepting) to make sure unscrupulous landlords do not cheat on their quality, quantity or pricing and to check that the ales are drinkable!


This year the Assize is to take place on Saturday 22nd October and will commence with activities in St Helens Square from 12:30.  The Sheriff will read a proclamation outside the Mansion House at 2pm.  The participants will be divided into teams and each will head off into York’s city centre on separate routes  visiting a selection of the city’s fine hostelries. 


Wearing medieval costume is optional but greatly encouraged.  Costume hire businesses will give 10% discount on production of your ticket for this event.  Details will be sent post booking. 


Taking part in the pub visits is free, but guests are encouraged to purchase a ticket at £15 which entitles them to the route map and a delicious dining experience at Brew York in Walmgate from 5pm, the cost of which also includes a donation to the Lord Mayor’s Charity.


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Something Good


Congratulations to our Honorary Life President Andrew Gravells for his MBE awarded in the Queens Birthday Honours List 2020. The honour was awarded to him in respect of his public and political service. He is pictured receiving the award from Princess Anne

Southampton is Awarded Lord Mayor status

On 20th May 2022, Southampton was awarded Lord Mayor status as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours.  Her Majesty the Queen was the final decision maker. 


Southampton City Council’s bid demonstrated the city’s proud and distinct identity, a  welcoming and friendly character, and a passion and commitment to the Mayoralty and the important role it plays in bringing people and communities together.


The bid also laid emphasis on the importance the City places on protecting its history, traditions and heritage whilst encouraging growth and opportunity for the future. 


Only two Lord Mayors have been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen in the 21st Century, and Southampton is the first English city to receive the honour since Exeter in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year of 2002.  It joins 27 of the 63 districts with city status in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that are headed by a Lord Mayor. 

The title of Lord Mayor will be taken by the current Mayor, Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Sheriff of Southampton in 2021-2022 once the 'Letters Patent' has been presented to the city.   

Berwick-upon-Tweed's 2021 Sheriff, Canon Alan Hughes is the chosen Chaplain for the new High Sheriff of Northumberland, Colonel James Royds.  Colonel Royds was installed in an ancient ceremony at Hexham Abbey on Saturday April 9th. He and Canon Hughes have served together in various military roles for over 35 years

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Sheriff of Berwick, Canon Alan Hughes stands to the left of the newly appointed High Sheriff of Northumberland, Colonel James Royds.

The year is proving a busy one with many traditional ceremonies in which to participate across the county of Northumberland.  Recently the Legal Services have been held in Durham Cathedral, Newcastle Cathedral and York Minster where Canon Hughes was reunited with the Sheriff of York, Suzie Mercer. 


Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Sheriff of Southampton in 2021-2022

White Lily

Something Sad

Giving thanks for their lives and to the service they gave to their communities and to the Association

Cllr Chris Thomas

We were very sad to hear of the unexpected death of a very active Member of NACTSEW, Cllr Chris Thomas, Haverfordwest.  Tributes have been paid to the Town's Sheriff who served in Office for three periods: from 2015 to 2016; 2018 to 2019 and 2019to 2020.

It is understood that he died on Sunday, November 21 following a short illness.

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Chair of NACTSEW in 2015, Peter Barrett was a very active and enthusiastic member of the Association and a valuable member of the Lichfield community.  We were saddened to hear of his death in September 2021, just prior to the AGM and Conference.

Obituary - Les Burden, Poole
(our old Ref!)

Poole's councillors are sad to announce the death of former Mayor and Sheriff, Les Burden who passed away at his home on 29th December.  Les was elected to Poole Borough Council in 1999 and was Sheriff of Poole in 2003-4 and then Mayor of Poole 2004-5.  Following his retirement from  the Council in 2019 Les continued to be a fully active member of Poole and Cherbourg's Twinning Association.  Many of you will remember Les for being a very active and proud member of NACTSEW and attended most, if not all the AGM weekends camping nearby in his trusted camper van with his beloved wife Mary Rose (RoRo).  Les played a key role in the arrangements and organisation of the Sheriff's Convention when it was Poole's turn to host in 2015.  He was immensely proud of the event and especially the record turnout of 190 guests. 

Les was a very keen footballer and was a professional referee, of which he frequently reminded people, especially during any unruly meetings when he would hush proceedings with an unexpected blast of his ref's whistle and threaten a yellow card!

Latest news

From Berwick:

Past and present Sheriffs of Berwick-upon-Tweed together celebrated their 39th Sheriff's Club dinner in April.  The dinner took place at the Guildhall where much of the 2022 AGM will take place. 


Guest speaker was the current High Sheriff, Colonel James Royds to whom the current sheriff, Canon Alan Hughes is serving as Chaplain.   The two have served together in various military roles for over 35 years. 










Also, it is with deep regret to announce that Sheriff James Armstrong passed
away yesterday morning, the day of our 39th Sheriff's Club of
Berwick-upon-Tweed dinner, after a short illness.  A farmer who was
Sheriff to his close friend and fellow farmer the late George Miller (mayor of the former Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed 1988/89).  He
leaves a widow Joyce and two sons David and Neal and their  families.

James's late father was Sheriff of Berwick-upon-Tweed 9 years earlier in 1079/80

berwick dinner.jpg

Left to right standing, former Sheriffs Ian Hay, Andrew Swinburne, Lance Robson, Robbie Dalgleish Judith Eltringham, Martin Warner.Seated left to right Jim Smith, Canon Alan Hughes, Colonel James Royds, High Sheriff of Northumberland and David Wilson

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Photographs by by Canon Alan Hughes

Sue Hughes, Sheriff of Berwick's consort with High Sheriff, Col James Royds

And now, sadly we have just lost another Berwick member. 


It is with deep sadness that we announce that Sheriff John Reay passed away, peacefully at home on Sunday, 1st May 2022.

A former senior partner of the Berwick Solicitors T.C. Smith, John leaves a
widow, Hilary and family.

An officer of NACTSEW for many years, John and Hilary are well known
throughout  the NACTSEW cities and towns.


Chester's Annual St George's Day Dinner

The City of Chester Sheriffs' Association held their annual St. Georges' Day Dinner at the Mill Hotel, Chester, on Saturday 23rd April 2022, having had to miss both 2020 and 2021.  It was a great delight that amongst the  select guests the Sheriff's Association were able to welcome the National President, Cllr Andrew Gravells, and also the National Chairman Cllr David Brown with his wife Cllr Joanne Brown (now the new Sheriff of Gloucester) who had all travelled up from Gloucester to join the event.  

Guest Speaker was Dame Lorna Muirhead, the past Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, who gave a wonderful account of her life and also told guests about her many meetings with Queen Elizabeth II.   Jeannie Storer reports that members had "a lovely dinner with superb company, but everyone agreed that the speaker was the highlight of the evening."

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