Each High Sheriff of the 55 Counties of England and Wales is appointed by HM the Queen and holds office for one year from March or April. The office is the oldest secular office save for the monarchy, dating back to Alfred the Great, when the shire-reeve collected taxes and maintained law and order for the King. It is an unpaid independent appointment that involves supporting the Judiciary, Police, Emergency Services and civic authorities, as well as charities and voluntary organisations. The Service for the Judiciary in October maintains the historic link between the Judiciary and the shrievalty.
The High Sheriff Youth Awards charity is important because it’s the only one directly supported by the High Sheriff and it recognises the work of young people in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, which is akin to the Sheriffs of yore preserving the peace.
The High Sheriff of Surrey for 2022-2023 is His Honour Christopher Critchlow DL. During his year he will actively promote the work of the HSYA throughout the county and support the projects that help young people make Surrey safer. As a former barrister and Circuit Judge who sat in the Crown, County and Family Courts of Surrey for over thirty years, HH Judge Critchlow came to know about the areas most in need of support and also about youth crime. As a school governor for many years, as a trustee of Surrey Clubs for Young Persons, and with involvement in other charities helping young people, he has seen how young people can be helped in constructive ways. He says it is vital to assist them to make a decent start in life and prevent them from taking a path which may lead to trouble and possibly blight a young life. Lockdowns brought many difficulties and people of all ages were adversely affected, not just by illness or financial problems, but their mental health also suffered. Sadly, the incidence of Domestic Abuse (DA) went up and children and the young can be traumatised by it. As Chairman of the Lord Lieutenant’s Focus Group on DA, HH Judge Critchlow has learnt about the people and agencies helping victims and their children. His theme for the year is “AGAINST ABUSE, FOR RECOVERY” and he will support the victims of DA and also those who need help in recovering from the adverse effects of the pandemic.
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