The high profile creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks documents his year as a ‘plus one’ supporting his wife, Alexis, in her role as High Sheriff of Cheshire Cheshire Life: November 2018
From wellies to dinner jackets, ploughed fields to industrial estates and village halls to cathedrals. Such is the life of the High Sheriff’s plus one.
Whether with the Nantwich Probus group, attending national heritage architects Donald Insall Associates 60th anniversary with the Lord Mayor, or being in Crewe with the Lord Lieutenant presenting a Queens Award for International Trade to Boyds Consultancy who work in gene therapy, looking over the shoulder of the HS is a constant source of inspiration and reflection.
Prime among reflective events this month was the Annual Ploughing and Hedgecutting Match in Plumley, where the Richardson family were hosting the 94th event, attended by its Patron, Lord Cholmondeley.
As usual, I was struck by both the attendance figures, over 2,500 people, on a Wednesday, as much as the obvious community spirit that underpinned the display of agricultural history. From four-legged horsepower, through vintage and modern tractors, it was interesting to reflect how agriculture has always been at the forefront of technological innovation. It is nearly 300 years since Jethro Tull’s seed drill kickstarted the agricultural revolution which in turn, quite literally, fed the Industrial Revolution.
It was also somewhat reassuring to watch man and horse at one, cutting a perfect furrow, knowing that even as agritech embraces the increasingly irresistible robots and GPS positioning, there will always be a few folk around to keep things growing if and when cyberwar breaks out and the tractors start tearing up the hedgerows and the agridrones start falling from the sky.
Reassurance was also found during a visit by the Princess Royal, who is no stranger to wellies herself, when she opened Safety Central, the new training and education centre for Cheshire Fire and Rescue in Lymm. The key message of the day was as simple as it was obvious: prevention is better than rescue.
Yet, like ploughing, we can only progress by handing down skills and to do this we need dedicated, skilled and highly motivated professionals passing on their experiences to each generation. Sometimes that experience has been hard earned, through injury and loss of life after members of the emergency services put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf. Going above and beyond the job description.
This was evident at Cheshire Police’s ACE Awards where the HS gave out the Volunteer Award to Karolina Kardas who volunteers as a translator in Crewe. ACE, standing for Achieving Cheshire Excellence, may be a tautological stretch, but it sums up the award winners perfectly. In Scouse, being boss.
Oh, and on being Scouse, I managed to squeeze in two of my own events. A Legends of Industry Award from Variety and a Grange Hill 40th anniversary dinner in London, both of which filled me with a warm glow of nostalgia and pride. They were also reminders of why my knees are so creaky and how long I have been with the High Sheriff. Behind every Industry Legend is a legendary woman.