SOUTH Yorkshire’s new High Sheriff took her declaration of office during a formal ceremony at Sheffield Crown Court.
Former High Sheriff Julie Kenny handed her badge of office to Lady Ruby Sykes before members of the city’s judiciary, the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, guests and presiding high court judge Charles Haddon-Cave.
Lady Sykes lives at Brookfield Manor in Hathersage with husband Hugh Sykes – a former master cutler who is chairman of the Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust and was knighted for his services to charity and urban regeneration in the Lower Don Valley.
She is a trustee of South Yorkshire Community Foundation, patron of Sheffield Cathedral and president of Sheffield Hatters women’s basketball team.
Judge Haddon-Cave said the role was more than 1,000 years old and was originally created to uphold law and order and collect taxes.
Today, High Sheriffs look after the judiciary and support the police and crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and voluntary sector.
Judge Haddon-Cave said female High Sheriffs were a ‘rarity’, adding: “It’s a great moment and a good thing that we have one lady High Sheriff handing over to another lady High Sheriff.”
Lady Sykes said she would spend her year in office promoting and encouraging charities and community groups across South Yorkshire.
Julie Kenny CBE – the county’s first female High Sheriff – told the guests: “I have met so many wonderful people, those who give up their time to make a difference to the lives of others.
“It left me both proud and inspired and I found it a humbling experience.”
The ceremony was also attended by judges, former Bishop of Sheffield the Rt Rev Jack Nicholls and acting South Yorkshire assistant chief constable Martyn Bates.