PUTTING one’s life on the line for a high court judge is not something to be done lightly – but it’s expected of the new High Sheriff of Warwickshire.
Among Lady Kilmaine’s responsibilities is looking after the well being of – and providing hospitality for – visiting judges, as well as attending royal visits in the county during her year.
Lady Kilmaine has lived near Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire since her marriage to Lord Kilmaine 27 years ago.
The office of high sheriff – the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown – goes back at least 1,000 years, though in modern times it is dictated by the Sheriff’s Act 1887.
Her role includes acting as the Returning Officer for parliamentary elections, having responsibility for the proclamation for the accession of a new Sovereign and maintaining the loyalty of subjects to the Crown.
She also has to carry out duties to support and encourage voluntary and statutory organisations engaged in all aspects of law and order – and work with young people, particularly through the charities Warwickshire Crimebeat and DebtCred.
Lady Kilmaine was sworn to office in the Court Number One at Warwick Crown Court, presided over by The Honourable Mr Justice Saunders, who lives in Warwickshire but is presiding judge on the South Eastern Circuit.
She received her badge of office from outgoing High Sheriff Anna Trye, from Leamington. Mrs Trye had as her chaplain the Rev Dr Felicity Smith, of St James’s Church, Old Milverton. Lady Kilmaine has chosen the Rev Martin Gorick, vicar of Holy Trinity, Stratford.
The office of high sheriff is non-political, unpaid and none of Lady Kilmaine’s expenses are met from the public purse.
Lady Kilmaine has been involved with several charitable and voluntary organisations over the years, and for more than two decades she helped raise money for special schools and colleges.
But she has a particular affection for Shrewley branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association, where her son John was taught to ride.
Now John, who has tuberous sclerosis and severe learning difficulties is, she said, “terribly happy living and working within a Camphill farming community in South Wales.”
Lord and Lady Kilmaine’s daughter, Alice, is a shepherd in the South Island of New Zealand, one of a team of four who look after deer, cattle and sheep on a 70,000-acre station.
Lady Kilmaine’s retired husband was a founder of Whale Tankers Ltd, of Ravenshaw, Solihull. The new high sheriff is looking forward to whatever her year in office brings, the highlight to date being the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations in Stratford-
“I want to make a little difference, if I can,” she said. “I am not in it for the prestige, I am in it to try and help people.
“I feel enormously privileged to have been honoured with the position of high sheriff and I shall carry it out to the best of my ability.”