Foreword from County Councillor Andrew Gravells – Founding Life President  [1. This Foreward was written as the introduction to the 30th Anniversary booklet] 

Peter Barrett from Lichfield has worked very hard to produce this History of the Association, and I’m really grateful to him for this important piece of work. I’m also very grateful to everyone who has supported the Association over the last thirty years since it was formed in Gloucester, especially the Office holders, who work hard to keep the Association vibrant and relevant.

During my year as Sheriff of Gloucester (1984/85), I often met the Mayors of neighbouring cities. During that year, I began to wonder what it would be like if, for once at a civic function, the Mayors were outnumbered by Sheriffs, instead of the other way round!

I also wondered how the other Sheriffs were experiencing their year in Office. There was no organisation to bring all of the Sheriffs together during their term. Neither was there yet email or the internet to contact them!

So, I decided to write a letter to the other Sheriffs to see if any of them saw any merit in setting up a National Association of Sheriffs, to meet at least once a year.

All the Sheriffs replied, indicating their support for this idea, and suggested I got on and organised an inaugural meeting as soon as possible!

On Tuesday 30th April 1985, the Sheriffs of England and Wales arrived at Gloucester Guildhall and, during a Meeting in the Council Chamber, the National Association of City and Town Sheriffs of England and Wales was formed. I was honoured to be elected as the first Chairman, and, when Councillor Mrs Lila Cooper took over that post, to be elected the first President.

Our Sheriffs’ yearly meetings, together with newsletters, ensure that Sheriffs and ex-Sheriffs continue to work for the good of this historic Office, and The Association ensures that Sheriffs should never again be isolated during their year of Office.

It’s been hard work keeping the Association going for thirty years, but enjoyable and rewarding work nevertheless. Our numbers have grown significantly, and we have long since become a respected and serious Association.

It’s good to be back in Canterbury again, and I’m looking forward to yet another enjoyable and productive weekend of events.

With best wishes,

Andrew Gravells

Life President

National Association of City and Town Sheriffs of England and Wales

Gloucester 1984/5

August 2014