Michael Bothamley was declared Bristol’s new High Sheriff by Mr Justice Blake at a ceremony held at Bristol Crown Court.
Mr Bothamley’s swearing in ceremony was attended by civic dignitaries, including the Lord Lieutenant of the City and County of Bristol, Mrs Mary Prior and the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Faruk Choudhury.
Before his swearing in, Mr Bothamley said: “For me a vital focus of the High Sheriff’s role is the place where young people and the law and order agenda meet.
“That’s where there’s a marvellous cross-over between the High Sheriff’s responsibility to encourage the voluntary sector, and its support by business, and his duty to uphold the principal organs of the Constitution – Queen and Royal Family, Judiciary, Police and emergency services and the local authority.
“As a past President of Business West, a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers and someone who’s been involved with a wide range of charities, I’ve made great connections in all those areas.
“I’m now relishing the chance to bring those connections together with the new people I’m going to meet and the projects I’m going to learn about, to help maximise collaboration and leverage.
“Over the last few years, public funding of services we’ve taken for granted has reduced. Typically, Bristolians have responded with increased support for local, grass roots initiatives to fill the gap. It’s the job of the High Sheriff to support and encourage them.
“My predecessor Shaheen Chaudhry has done that tremendously well, bringing people together and raising and using the funds of the High Sheriff’s charity to support local youth projects, and I hope to carry on where she leaves off.”
The role of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in the UK after the Crown, with a history going back more than 1,000 years. It is an unpaid and voluntary role. High Sheriffs, like Lord Lieutenants, are appointed personally by the Sovereign and are representatives of the Sovereign in their county, with the High Sheriff responsible for law and order and the Lord Lieutenant for civil and other matters.
The High Sheriff also supports initiatives promoting crime reduction and the High Sheriff’s fund makes grants to various local projects.