News: Swearing In Of High Sheriff
Wednesday, 23rd March 2005
On Monday 11 April, in Cabinet Room 'C' at County Hall, Preston, a new High Sheriff for Lancashire will be sworn in.
James (Jimmy) Christopher Armfield, of Blackpool, will continue an office stretching back to at least the middle of the 10th Century.
The High Sheriff is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen in Her right as Duke of Lancaster. At the installation ceremony, the Queen's Commission will be read in the presence of two Commissioners, and the High Sheriff will then make a declaration to "serve the Queen's Writs and execute the good laws and statutes of the Realm". The Commissioners will ascertain whether the declaration has been correctly delivered and the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire will then hand over to the new High Sheriff the Sheriff's Patent, which is his authority to act throughout his year in office.
Although many of the powers of the High Sheriff have been eroded over the years by the emergence of local government, the police force, the Court Administrator's Office and the Lieutenancy, the High Sheriff, apart from his important social and ceremonial duties, still has significant functions. The High Sheriff's main duty is to 'protect and assist in upholding the dignity and well being of Her Majesty's Judges and to represent the Queen's executive powers in respect of the administration of justice in the county'. Also, through the Under-Sheriff, the High Sheriff is responsible for the execution of High Court Writs.
Manchester born Mr Armfield (69) who is married with two sons, was educated in Lancashire and undertook his National Service with the King's Own Royal Regiment, before becoming internationally known for a lifetime in football.
Unusually (by today's standards), he devoted his entire League playing career to one club - Blackpool FC - for whom he made over 600 appearances. He also received 43 England Caps, captaining the national team between 1962-64 and being a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup Squads.
Following his playing career, Mr Armfield went into football management with Bolton Wanderers (1971-74) and Leeds United (1974-78). He also went into journalism as a sports commentator with both local and national newspapers and still continues in this profession with over 25 years service with BBC Radio. Currently, he is Technical Consultant to both the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association.
Away from football, Mr Armfield supports a number of public and charitable organisations. He is a School Governor, Church Organist, Vice-Chairman of the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Hospitals NHS Trust, President of Age Concern, Blackpool, Vice President of the Lancashire Outward Bound Trust and a Member of the Blackburn Cathedral Trust.
Mr Armfield, who is also a Freeman of the Borough of Blackpool, was awarded the OBE in the Millennium Honours List and made a Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire in 2004.
Mr Armfield said:
"It is a great honour to have been chosen by the Queen to be High Sheriff of Lancashire. I intend to uphold undiminished the traditions and responsibilities of this ancient office which have been part of our history for a thousand years."
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