The Isle of Wight High Sheriff, Caroline Peel, was out and about again this week presenting more High Sheriff’s Community Awards to some of the local businesses who have served their communities so well during the Covid-19 crisis and two lockdowns.
Each of the businesses were nominated by their customers for going well beyond what could reasonably be expected of them and for their commitment to keeping Islanders safe and supplied with essential goods and services at times when many were unable to leave their homes.
Mrs Peel said: “It has been so rewarding to visit all these wonderful shops, and meet the staff. Many of them are volunteers, and they have kept their communities going and given so much support and help to those shielding or vulnerable.
“These small businesses are very much appreciated. At Orchard Brothers lots of local people came along and sang a rousing rendition of ‘He’s a jolly good fellow’. That is typical of the respect and esteem these people and their businesses are held in.
“They have all worked so hard to ensure that their customers definitely come first. Their dedication has meant that most people on the Island have not gone without.
“So many Island businesses have gone beyond the call of duty during this crisis. We need to remember it is now up to all of us to continue supporting them. Unless we do they may not be there when we next need them.”
Mrs Peel also praised the Let’s Buy Local Campaign, saying that it was wonderful to see that it had highlighted how inventive and resourceful many local entrepreneurs had been.
The role of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year dating back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for collecting taxes.
Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs in England and Wales. The role has evolved greatly although supporting the Crown and the judiciary remains central. High Sheriffs also support crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector. Many High Sheriffs also assist organisations supporting vulnerable and other people.
High Sheriffs receive no pay and no there is no cost to the public purse, in fact considerable personal expense falls to the office holders.