One of the last high Sheriff appointments was to honour the promise of a visit to the Selfridges School Globe competition winning school with Selfridges General Manger Adam Hockney and Head of marketing Serena Tutt. On a sunny thursday in Alum Rock, East Birmingham, we went to winners Nansen Primary to take assembly for years 5 and 6. Before Assembly the High Sheriff was accompanied by his guide Haida to see the special display that had been made in yellow and gold. The Award certificate, medal and pictures from the night have been hung in the main school lobby. Next to the awards was an equally impressive display of the project as a whole with pictures from the Selfridges announcement day and images of the sustainable globe designs. We were told that the school has just had a visit from Ofsted and the high Sheriff and Selfridge globe award has been received very positively by the assessors – Good Luck Nansen.
Assembly was due to begin and much to our surprise the sports hall was full with children. Nansen is the biggest primary school in Europe! Deputy Head Ms Scott Johnson introduced Adam and the High Sheriff who were welcomed with a full blooded “Good Afternoon high Sheriff” from the gathered group. Adam gave a great speech about Selfridges and the competition to design globes for a sustainable world and how he was proud that the competition had inspired so many children to get creative for a good global cause. The children had lots of questions. Asked about their favourite subjects – there were many, but the top was ‘Maths’. The High Sheriff gave a short talk about the history of the role going back 1000 years. He was also asked to describe the quality of his court dress uniform. Everyone was intent, especially when he showed his sword by his side. Everybody took a deep breath as he asked if they would like to see it drawn from its scabbard – Yes came the unanimous reply. The Sheriff does not normally withdraw the sword but today being very special he did. Big deep breaths and OOOOOOO! There followed many questions from the children including from a young boy : “Sir could I be a High Sheriff?” To which the HS replied – “If you work hard and long and make good contributions to our community you could definitely be A Sheriff in years to come – good luck.”
After a number of questions a young girl asked ” Sir Can girls be High Sheriff’s?” The HS was very happy to say “Yes you can. In the last 5 years the West Midlands has had 2 women as High Sheriff – Anita Bhalla OBE DL and Dame Christine Braddock. So you should plan for the future”. Ms Johnson requested one last question : a girl in the front row asked :”What’s it like for a man to wear tights?!” Much laughter followed. What a great day.