On Saturday 1 April, the Declaration Service of the new High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Liz Green was held at St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted.
The Office of High Sheriff dates to Saxon times and is the oldest secular office in the United Kingdom after the Crown. Whilst the Shrieval duties have evolved over time, High Sheriffs are still appointed personally by the King, on the advice of the Privy Council. The role of High Sheriff is an independent, non-political and unpaid Royal appointment for a single year. Historically the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the King for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown, with any shortfall being met personally by the Sheriff –thankfully that is no longer the case today! In March the ‘pricking’ ceremony, which dates back at least as far as Henry VIII takes place. Each name is pricked with an ancient bodkin as opposed to pen and ink, which could be more easily erased should the appointee be reluctant to serve.
Key elements of the High Sheriff role include supporting the Crown and the important work of the judiciary, including Judges, the Police, Magistrates, Tribunals, Prisons and Probation services, and the emergency services. Many High Sheriffs assist their county Community Foundations and local voluntary organisations by endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. They also support a range of civic ceremonies across the county.
Liz’s working background was in retail marketing and PR at Next and Tie Rack. For over twenty years Liz has volunteered for a number of charities in Hertfordshire, including delivering Meals on Wheels, organising street and supermarket collections for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, and more recently helping at the Maxted Road vaccination centre during Covid. She is an Ambassador for Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care, and Hertfordshire Community Foundation. Liz also volunteers as an Area Co-ordinator for Shannon Trust, who work to improve literacy and numeracy in prisons and the community, and she is a Trustee of The Butler Trust, a charity that celebrates the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice. Following lockdown in March 2020, Liz and her Livery company organised ‘Knit for Community’, a project which to date has received over 60,000 donated knitted squares, enabling them to help over 1,300 individuals across the UK.
From September 2018 to September 2019 Liz had the honour of being elected and serving as Sheriff of the City of London. Liz and her husband Peter were fortunate to live at The Old Bailey and during that time much was learnt about the problems of those leaving prison, and the reality for those in prison who struggle to read.
Speaking after her Declaration, Liz said: ‘My theme for the year is ‘Reading, writing and rehabilitation’. Many of us take reading for granted, and we don’t stop to think about the difficulties of practical day-to-day living of those who struggle to read. Whether completing job applications, reading instructions on a medicine bottle, or understanding road signs or bail conditions, literacy can make a huge difference to an individual. I hope to bring people together to enable us to improve literacy levels in Hertfordshire, and to help ex-offenders into work. It is a tremendous honour and an enormous privilege to be appointed High Sheriff of Hertfordshire. I look forward to meeting many people who either work professionally or volunteer to help others across our Hertfordshire communities.’
Liz and Peter have lived near Tring in Hertfordshire for almost 30 years. They played hockey for Tring, and many years ago Liz was selected to play golf for Hertfordshire. They enjoy walking their dog in the local countryside, and when time permits, Liz continues to try and improve her bridge as well as her golf swing! They have two children.
Details about the High Sheriff role can be found at High Sheriff of Hertfordshire.