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Patronage, Princesses and Prisons

Yes, this could very well be the title for Andrew Grant's auto-biography, but for now it is the title of his latest blog.

Following on from his previous post, How Andrew Grant was built, this article features some fantastic anecdotes from Andrew's time as High Sheriff of Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

"Over the years I have been proud to give back to the community, and have supported a number of local charities. I am a patron of St. Richard's Hospice, supporting and hosting a number of initiatives for them each year; the latest which I am proud to be involved in is Worcester Stands Tall, where more than 25 giraffes will tower over the City's residents and visitors. At the end of the project, the sculptures will be auctioned to raise vital funds for the St Richard’s Hospice Build 2020 Appeal - which aims to raise the final £1.4m needed to build a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and families to be cared for in Worcestershire.

"In 2005 I was made High Sherriff of Herefordshire & Worcestershire. The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. My duties included lending support and encouragement tothe emergency services and to the voluntary sector. 

"It was a most interesting role, which involved meeting people from all walks of life; from visiting those in prison, to royalty. When I met Princess Anne for the first time she asked how I was getting on with my first year in Office. My update was on the things I was currently doing, and that I'd also been to prison a few times. She walked on, and then returned with a big smile on her face, and said to me "I hope you haven't been to prison too often!?". The second time I met the Princess, towards the end of my time as High Sheriff, she enquired again as to how I'd been getting on, this time I informed her that "I had NOT been to prison", to which she laughed and replied, "Well, I am always going to prison!".

"At the end of my year as High Sheriff I had to provide an account of my time; this was in Shirehall, Worcester, in fron of a High Court Judge, the Lord Leuitenenant and a number of other dignitaries. At the end of the official proceedings I went to the judges chambers to change out of my court dress, (which inlcuded velvet knickerbockers!) into a suit.

"When I cam out I discovered the entire Shirehall was in darkness and that I was locked in. I immediately called 999 and gave them the details. The call operator shared my 'situation' with colleagues to much hilarity. It wasn't until a further two calls that I was taken seriously. Finally, at around 8.30pm, when the Lord Leiutenant and other dignitaries were home enjoying their dinner, the police did eventually arrive - making the decision to break-in, scaling the 10ft railings so I could be rescued.

"I recall an interview from March 1994, by the Worcester News. They asked what my epitaph would be, and if I remember correctly my words were along the lines of He tried to leave this world a better place and made a small contribution."

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