The role of High Sheriff dates back to Saxon times when the Shire Reeve, or Sheriff, was appointed to maintain law and order in the shires and it was retained after the Normans invaded, the first recorded High Sheriff of Northumberland being appointed in 1076 by King William I. Today, it is an unpaid voluntary role, appointed by the Queen, and concentrates on upholding and supporting the judiciary, police and law enforcement agencies, emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups as well as supporting and encouraging the voluntary sector.
In Northumberland a fund, administered by The Community Foundation, was set up over 25 years ago. Through this fund, successive High Sheriffs of Northumberland have raised monies to give out in awards to voluntary and community groups across the county that encourage young people to engage in useful and beneficial activities, with a total of about £500,000 (has been) awarded over the life of the fund.
At her installation Lady Joicey mentioned that the last person from her parish to become High Sheriff of Northumberland was Barbara Lyndon-Skeggs, who was also the first lady High Sheriff of this county. The new High Sheriff is looking forward to her year in office and to getting to know her county better.