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May 2017

May 2017

10 May 2017

Englefield Long Gallery is an imposing venue.  The panelled walls are adorned with heroes of the past, while gathered on this occasion were individuals to be presented with the High Sheriff of Royal Berkshire’s Awards 2017. The position of High Sheriff goes back over 1000 years.  Their law enforcement action included raising a “hue and cry”, and organising or conscripting any able-bodied men to serve to keep the King’s peace and arrest criminals.  Today their role is to uphold and enhance the ancient office.  This is done by supporting the Royal Family, the judiciary, the police, emergency services, local authorities, church and faith groups and the voluntary sector.  In Berkshire there is a badge of office.  It shows two crossed swords, one blunt, representing mercy, the other sharp for justice.  Victoria Fishburn from Englefield has held that position, and her award ceremony was one of the many duties undertaken during her year wearing her befeathered uniform of office.

There were nine people to receive awards.  They stood one at a time, facing the audience, while a citation was read by their sponsor.  This experience of hearing how much you are appreciated is more usually reserved for those attending your funeral service. First up was verger Richard Ashfield.  He keeps the Minster Church open all hours as a refuge for the homeless and weekend bingers in Reading. A Thames Valley Superintendent was pioneering innovative ways of adapting policing to the needs of today’s society.  Paula Murphy put hours of her life into a brilliant youth and community project in Slough.  A clerk at Reading Crown Court went way above her job description in meeting the needs of folk in that daunting environment, while a magistrate arranged schools to compete in Mock trails. A Superintendent Registrar attended sensitively to births, marriages and deaths but also made British Citizenship Ceremonies more lively by singing the National Anthem.

And then our lot.  Dinah Perkins for being Dinah, generous, warm hearted, serving, persistent over a lifetime.  Pam Goddard, for setting up the market garden at Englefield, a wonderful box of delights for young and old, and Cliff Marriott for tirelessly welcoming 14,000 children on visits and camps here on Rushall Farm.

Maya Agelon wrote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel”

How true that was for all those commended, and also the ‘back to normal’ Victoria Fishburn.