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Above and below: Local dignitaries line up with Leicestershire's High Sheriff Diana Thompson.




Bishop Guli with Diana Thompson outside St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray.


St Mary's Church warden John Spence, the Revd Kevin Ashby, Bishop Guli, Diana Thompson and church warden Roger Kirby.


The Revd Kevin Ashby finds time for a smile before the service begins in St Mary's Church.

Justice Service well supported

St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, was packed on Sunday afternoon (October 28th) when a Justice Service was held for the High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Diana Thompson.

The beautiful Grade I Listed building, which last year had £1.9m spent on it, was full of local dignitaries all there to support Mrs Thompson.

They had met earlier in the day for lunch at Melton Borough Council offices and then walked over to the church for the service which was led by Melton Team Parish Rector and Leicestershire High Sheriff's Chaplain, the Revd Kevin Ashby, and the Bishop of Loughborough, the Revd Canon Dr Guli Francis-Dehqan.

The service began with a welcome and introduction from the Revd Ashby and an opening prayer before the opening hymn I vow to thee, my country which was led by the combined choir from St Mary's Church and Melton Mowbray Choral Society conducted by James Gutteridge. The organ was played by Edward McCall.

The first reading, the Law of Compensation Poem, was given by Mrs Thompson followed by the hymn Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

Unfortunately, due to the helicopter crash at the Leicester City FC King Power Stadium the day before, Police Constable Simon Cole was unable to be at the service to give the second reading. Instead, the reading from Ephesians 2-19-end was given by Inspector Siobhan Gorman, who told me that she had only just been promoted and the following day was due to take over running Melton, Rutland and Market Harborough stations. What a way to begin a new job! She proved an able replacement.

This was followed by a fantastic rendition of Charles Villiers Stanford's The Te Deum, by the in-form choir.

The hymn Judges eternal, throned in splendour followed before the third reading from John 15:17-27 given by The Hon Mr Justice Hildyard.

Those present were then treated to the anthem Zadok the Priest by the choir before The Sermon by Bishop Guli.

The hymn Immortal, invisible, God only wise followed before the Prayers of Intercession and then the Offertory Hymn O worship the King, all glorious above. During the hymn a collection was taken and will be divided equally between two charities: Warning Zone and the St Mary's Church Re-ordering Project.

Warning Zone is Mrs Thompson's chosen charity which aims to reduce the number of children and young people entering the Criminal Justice System and improve their life chances by keeping them safe from accidental injury by increasing their understanding of risks and consequences. It also aims to provide children with key messages regarding how to keep safe online.

The High Sheriff's Prayer was then read and then The Blessing was given by Bishop Guli before The National Anthem. The main dignitaries then left the building via the West door and then walked round to the North door and back inside where a wonderful array of cakes and sandwiches were served by Carol Sloan and her team from The Samworth Centre.

A big thank you to everyone who helped in any way to make the service so special and to everyone who came along to support the High Sheriff.

Mrs Thompson took up her role as High Sheriff earlier this year and the service was a wonderful way of bringing together, in an act of worship, many people from around the county who are directly involved in the maintenance of law and order, the administration of justice and voluntary organisations.
Among those attending were the Lord Mayor of Leicester Cllr Ross Grant; The Chairman of the County Council County Cllr Ozzy O'Shea; The Mayor of Melton Cllr Pru Chandler; The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur; Police Inspector Siobhan Gorman; the Under Sheriff of Leicestershire Helen Johnson; the High Sheriff of Derbyshire Lucy Palmer; the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire James Saunders Watson; the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire Nick Ebbs, the High Sheriff of Rutland Sue Jarron and the High Sheriff of Staffordshire Pippa Gee.

Also attending were Baroness Byford; District Judge Afzal; District Judge Stamenkovich; His Honour Judge Brown and His Honour Judge Hedley; His Honour Judge Dean QC and Her Honour Judge Hampton; Clerk to the Hon Mrs Justice Carr; The Hon Mrs Justice Carr and the Hon Justice Hildyard and the High Sheriff's Cadet & Sword Bearer Miss Harley Sparks.

*The office of High Sheriff is more than one thousand years old and is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown. Originally the office held may of the powers now vested in Lords-Lieutenant, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local Authorities, Coroners and the Inland Revenue. The High Sheriff remains the Sovereign’s representative in the country for all matters relating to the Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.

Today, the High Sheriff is responsible for duties conferred by the Crown through Warrant from the Privy Council including attendance at Royal visits, supporting Her Majesty’s High Court Judges when in circuit, acting as official Returning Officer for Parliamentary elections in County Constituencies, proclaiming the accession of a new Sovereign and supporting the Crown's Judiciary. They give active support and encouragement to the police and the emergency services, to the probate and prison services, and other voluntary and statutory agencies involved with crime prevention. 


The combined St Mary's Church Choir and Melton Mowbray Choral Society were in fine voice on Sunday afternoon.


Above and below: The procession is led into St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray.






High Sheriff's Cadet and Sword Bearer Harley Sparks presents her sword to the Revd Ashby, who is pictured with it below.



Above and below: The Revd Ashby addresses the large crowd which packed into St Mary's Church on Sunday afternoon.



The first reading, the Law of Compensation Poem, was given by Mrs Thompson.


Inspector Siobhan Gorman gives the second reading in St Mary's Church.


The choir performing in St Mary's Church on Sunday afternoon.


 The Hon Mr Justice Hildyard is pictured giving the third reading.


Above: Bishop Guli delivering her sermon on Sunday afternoon and below just after the service had finished.



Dignitaries prepare to leave the church after the service on Sunday afternoon.


The High Sheriff goes to the back of the church after the service.


Above and below: Coming back in again... the procession goes through the North door for afternoon tea.










This was just part of the delicious food put on by Carol Sloan and her team from The Samworth Centre.


High Sheriff Diana Thompson and Carol Sloan.


High Sheriff Diana Thompson deep in conversation after the service.


Above and below: Enjoying a good old chat and tea after the service.



Phil Balding, 28/10/2018

Congratulations all round
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