A CHAPTER in Leeds legal history has come to an end with the High Sheriff and Under Sheriff of West Yorkshire both stepping down this week.
The post of High Sheriff is normally held for a year and Virginia Lloyd will be handing on the regalia of office to a new incumbent, The Honourable Mrs Dent - known outside her ceremonial office to family and friends as Annie.
However, it was also a poignant day for Under Sheriff Jonathan Towers, who bid farewell to both Mrs Lloyd - one of more than a hundred High Sheriffs he has helped to make their declarations at the beginning of their term - and his own post with the Shrievalty, which he has served in some form for almost half a century.
Mr Towers began as a deputy to Under Sheriff Charles Dodsworth in 1967 - a post he held for 20 years before becoming Under Sheriff himself in 1987. By then, some of the authority and the duties of the sheriffs had been watered down under a review of the court system in 1972. Further legal reviews in 2004 also prompted many Under Sheriffs to retire.
However Mr Towers decided to remain in post serving Yorkshire until this week. His duties will now be shared by four new Under Sheriffs - one for each of the Yorkshire Shrievalties.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Under Sheriff and have always enjoyed the support and friendship of all the High Sheriffs thoughout that period but recognise that the time has come to pass on the baton,” he said.
Mrs Lloyd marked the end of her year in office by presenting small awards to individuals and charities from across West Yorkshire.
“My year in office has been incredibly exciting and incredibly humbling,“ she said. “It has been an absolute privilidge to meet so many people who give so much of themselves to help others. I feel immensely proud to be High Sheriff of a county containing so many amazing people and organisations.”