The quirky roles that are part of our history – what exactly is a Lord-Lieutenant and a High Sheriff?

A Sheffield nurse has become the new Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire – but what is this strangely titled role and others with similar ancient roots?

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 1:06 pm

The Queen has appointed Professor Dame Hilary Chapman her Lord-Lieutenant in the county, a title dating back to Henry VIII in the 1540s.

The role originally was to organise volunteers for local armies in case of foreign invasion but nowadays Lord-Lieutenants are responsible for arranging visits by members of the Royal family.

They liaise with the Queen’s Private Office about local issues when a Royal visit is being planned and escort Royals during the event.

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Professor Dame Hilary Chapman.

Prof Dame Chapman, 58, retired three years ago as chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

She is an Honorary Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, an Honorary Doctor of Medicine at Sheffield University and a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.

Another honourable role is that of High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, currently held by Martin McKervey, a prominent businessman in Sheffield.

He’s one of 55 High Sheriffs carrying on a 1,000 year old tradition – the role is mentioned in the Magna Carter.

Mr. Andrew Coombe CVO.

High Sheriffs used to collect taxes and were responsible for rounding up criminals and the modern day job still has links to law enforcement and justice.

Mr McKervey said: “My purpose begins with my support for the judges and all who administer justice, for barristers, solicitors, legal executives and all those who work in our legal system, in our courts and tribunals and in our law firms.

“It is important that a wider section of society understands what our system of justice and the rule of law is all about and the importance of justice in all its many and varied aspects. I want to help and play a role in achieving that.

“This also extends to supporting the very important work undertaken across South Yorkshire by our police, fire and rescue service, the prison, probation and rehabilitation services and the Parole Board.”

There’s one title which politicians, steel barons, Olympic athletes and ‘Man with the Pram’ John Burkhill share – they have all been granted Freedom of the City of Sheffield.

John was the latest person to be given the honour in 2019 and joins only a handful of other people including Nelson Mandela, Harry Brearley, Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Seb Coe, Michael Vaughan and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.

The 82-year-old, who was also granted a British Empire Medal, received the highest honour the city can bestow for his tireless work raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for Macmillan nurses.

While many people in South Yorkshire have been recognised in the Queen’s Honours Lists over the years, there is only one with the rare and prestigious Order of the Companions of Honour.

Gold medallist Lord Seb Coe, raised in Broomhill, was bestowed the honour for securing and leading the 2012 London Olympics.

This Order, founded in 1917, rewards just 65 individuals at any one time who have made a longstanding contribution to arts, science, medicine or government.