High Sheriff of North Yorkshire praises Redcar RNLI volunteers

The RNLI volunteers in Redcar have been praised for their work during a visit to the town’s lifeboat station by the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.

John Furness was sworn in as the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire in March this year, and visited the Redcar lifeboat station in September to meet the volunteer crew and see the lifeboats in action.

Mr Furness said: ‘Following a visit to the Redcar station in early September of this year I was so impressed with the hours and years of voluntary service that is given to this station, and the dedication of the crew in maintaining and crewing the lifeboat, that I wanted to return and present them with a High Sheriff’s Award.

‘The High Sheriff’s Award is a personal award that is granted “in recognition of great and valuable services to the community”.’

Mr Furness visited the lifeboat station on Wednesday 19 October with his wife Grania, to present the crew with the prestigious High Sheriff’s Award.

img_3946On receiving the award Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar, said: ‘We were please when the High Sheriff asked to visit us in September to see some of the work we do. And when he got back in touch to say he was going to present us with the award we felt extremely honoured.’

Mr Furness said: ‘I have been aware for many years of the wonderful work that the RNLI do in saving the lives of people in the sea and have supported the charity in small ways.

‘It was when I was on holiday in the west of Ireland this summer that, after talking to the crew of the Valentia lifeboat station in Knightstown, I felt that during my year of office as High Sheriff of North Yorkshire I must do something about the RNLI in my home county.’

The office of High Sheriff has been in existence for over 1000 years. The original ‘Shire Reeves’ were royal officials appointed to enforce the kings’ interests in the county. In particular they were responsible for the collection of taxes and to enforce law and order. They judged cases and acted as law enforcement officers. They could to summon the full military force of the county.

From 1300 their powers began to wane. The Exchequer was established to collect taxes. Justices and Assizes were established. But High Sheriffs remained responsible for issuing writs, executing sentences and hangings.

They also had to ensure the comfort and safety of high court judges.In the 19th century police, prisons and crown property were transferred away from the power of the High Sheriff and the surviving powers were codified in Sheriff’s Act 1887.

There are 55 High Sheriffs in England and Wales. It is an annual appointment. They support High Court judges whilst on circuit and support police and other law enforcement agencies.

High Sheriffs also support the emergency services, local authorities, church and faith groups, as well as voluntary organisation within the county.