New High Sheriff of Essex is appointed
- Credit: Dave Higgleton
The new High Sheriff of Essex for the coming year is Simon Brice, who has become the 841st to take the role since it was established in Anglo Saxon times.
Taking over from Julie Fosh, his priorities for his year of office are domestic abuse, modern slavery, county lines, mental health and rural crime. He was previously Julie's deputy.
Simon is a farmer and comes from a family who have farmed near Witham for five generations.
He said: “I think as High Sheriff it is possible to see things behind the scenes that others don't have the chance to see.
"I could be having a discussion with a High Court judge one day, then talking to someone addicted to drugs or a victim of domestic abuse the following day.
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“A High Sheriff does not have political allegiance, which I think is important, as people feel they can speak freely in these circumstances.
"I will be there to give support, to make connections, perhaps open doors and to jolly or cajole where necessary.
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"Even when dealing with difficult issues, I will be doing it with a smile."
He will work with Essex Community Foundation who look after the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which gives grants to causes tackling crime and promoting community safety.
ECF runs the ‘Proceeds of Crime Matched Funding Scheme’ thanks to the support of Essex Police. For every £2 received ECF will add £1, and if Gift Aid can be claimed it nearly doubles the value of donations.
Simon said: "I am also looking forward to linking with ECF for the High Sheriff's awards which do a great job towards boosting morale and recognising the excellent work of many organisations in the county.”
Simon and his wife Emma plan to hold a garden party in aid of the High Sheriffs' Fund in September, the same month as their daughter Lucy's wedding.
Their son Oliver is playing an increasing role in running the family's businesses, allowing Simon more time for his duties as High Sheriff.
Outgoing High Sheriff of Essex Julie Fosh said it had been an honour and a privilege to have served in the role.
"My declaration was in March 2020, on the day of lockdown one, and I end my tenure on April 12, the day the pubs open again - quite remarkable timing!"
She added: "I have loved my year, and really enjoyed creating a sense of occasion to thank and celebrate the achievements of others and have seen the joy that this has brought to individuals and to organisations. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me."