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Sophie Hilleary, Warwickshire’s High Sheriff, has announced the winner of a competition to find UK’s very first Young High Sheriff.

The competition – Young High Sheriff for a Day – was trialled this year for the first time with pupils from Warwick’s Myton School. The concept behind it was to give the winner real experience of the duties and responsibilities that High Sheriffs undertake with the aim of raising levels of understanding about this important ceremonial role.

During the first part of the autumn term, students from Myton School, (Years 10-13) wrote essays, poems and recorded video clips to explain why they would like to be Young High Sheriff for a day. This task involved research about both the current and the historical responsibilities of High Sheriffs and consideration about how to match their own interests, career and academic aspirations to explain why they should be chosen. 

Entries to the competition were judged by a Panel of Judges that included Tim Ollerenshaw, a Director at Moore and Tibbits Solicitors who were the main sponsor for the event; Graham Sutherland, a retired Warwickshire Police Chief Inspector and former Town Crier; and Simon Jones, a retired Deputy Head at Myton School.

The standards of submissions where very high and, after careful consideration, a winner and two runners up were announced at an event at Warwick’s Old Shire Hall that was made possible by a grant from the King Henry VIII Endowed Trust:

Winner: Aaron Dhesi

Aaron wrote an essay that reflected on the history and tradition of the role of the High Sheriff and the importance of service to the community. His essay recognised the 'exceptional privilege' of becoming the first young high sheriff and expressed excitement at the opportunity this brought to understand more of the 'rich tapestry of history and tradition.'

Aaron stated his motivation to become young high sheriff came from his already extensive community service and voluntary work through the Kissing it Better Charity and was keen to use this opportunity to 'leave a positive mark on his community'.

The Runners Up were Toby Odling who wrote an essay that recognised the important role of the High Sheriff in supporting communities; and On Tai Yeung who produced a video full of passion and dedication for the local community.

As winner of the competition, the UK’s first Young High Sheriff, Aaron Dhesi received a special ceremonial robe, which was kindly donated by Michael’s Civic Outfitters. His day as High Sheriff will begin early in 2024 with a full itinerary of activities.

At the awards ceremony, Sophie Hilleary took the opportunity to also recognise two of Myton School’s unsung heroes with a High Sheriff Award:

Jane Burrows, Finance Director for their work during the RAAC Concrete situation where she has worked tirelessly and under enormous pressure to ensure that the cogs have kept turning, whilst planning the mammoth project to keep students in the classroom.

Carolyn Haines, Safeguarding Lead for their work behind the scenes supporting the school’s most vulnerable students.  Carolyn is the person to whom every single member of staff will turn for advice on safeguarding, which is the most fundamental element of any successful school.

Sophie Hilleary, Warwickshire’s High Sheriff for the year 2023/24, said:  “An excellent evening of celebration in The Shire Hall with the finalists. It was so encouraging to have such an enthusiastic response by the students. Congratulations to Aaron who I look forward working with in the New Year. My thanks goes to all helped pioneer this competition”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Warwickshire is the County to host the UK’s very first Young High Sheriff, giving this important position more relevance to our current generation of young people. A huge well done to Aaron Dhesi and everyone who took part in this competition at Myton School.

“We are very fortunate to have had a succession of outstanding High Sheriffs in Warwickshire who have such a deep understanding of the County and the drive to make a positive impact during their time in the role. On behalf of Warwickshire County Council and the whole of Warwickshire, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Aaron to the Office of High Sheriff and hope that he has a great day.”

A spokesperson for Myton School said: “It's been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of such a unique opportunity.  We've been thrilled with the interest and excitement that the competition has generated.  It's always great to see the young people of today being so invested in such a traditional institution and one that they still see as an evolving and important role.”

Find out more about the High Sheriff of Warwickshire here:

Find out more about Moore and Tibbits Solicitors, who were the main sponsor of the competition, here:

Find out more about the King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, who made the awards evening, here:

Find out more about Michael’s Civic Outfitters who provided the Young High Sheriff’s Robe, here:

Published: 8th December 2023

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