Ceremony held for Sheffield Crown Court usher retiring at age 75

Ann Fox has given 21 years of service to Sheffield Crown Court – and she is now retiring at the age of 75.
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To mark her retirement, a special ceremony was held at the court last week to mark the two decades she spent there.

Ann was joined by family, friends, judges and people she has worked with over the years.

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Ann Fox has worked at Sheffield Crown Court as an usher for 21 years.Ann Fox has worked at Sheffield Crown Court as an usher for 21 years.
Ann Fox has worked at Sheffield Crown Court as an usher for 21 years.
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Judge Jeremy Richardson QC gave a heartwarming speech, thanking Ann for her years of service the crown court.

“You have made a very significant contribution to the work here,” he said.

He also made reference to charity work Ann does abroad.

“Continue with the brilliant work you do in relation to Gambia,” the judge added.

He said: “People like Ann make a big material contribution to places like that and we thank you for that. This is in relation to the wonderful charity work Ann does with families in Gambia.

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“Finally, I repeat yet again, thank you so much for all you’ve done.”

Judge Richardson also joked in his speech about judges having to retire at age 70 and Ann surpassing that, retiring at age 75 – which will put her among the oldest people to ever have worked at the Sheffield Crown Court.

Ann then received flowers and a picture frame celebrating her retirement from the court as a thank you for her work, before Ann had photos taken with her family and work colleagues from over the years.

Reflecting on her 21 years at Sheffield Crown Court, Ann said she loved her time there.

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“It has been the best times actually, I’ve been there 21 years and its been really good,” she said.

On the topic of memorable cases she has witnessed in court over the years, Ann said: “There’s many that stick in your mind and many that upset you for a while, but you just get on with it.

“I’ve been in many murder cases – my first big case was a baby murder and that upset me more than anything. That was probably my first bad case, a really bad case that stuck with me.”

Ann said she had to try and see the ‘lighter side’ to some cases, and she described ‘cold cases’ as some of the more interesting she has been involved in.

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“I have been in what they call cold cases where they’ve probably 20 or 30 years later been found out through DNA,” said Ann.

Last year, whilst an usher at Sheffield Crown Court, Ann also had the opportunity to meet Princess Anne, who she says she got on really well with.

“I’ve got my photograph with Princess Anne and I also got an invite to the Queen’s garden party. It has been cancelled the past two years so I’m hoping to go this year. Just to have been asked was an honour,” she said.

“It was great (when she met Princess Anne), we had a laugh actually. The photograph I have got we are having a laugh. Everyone keeps asking what I said to her, but I just kept it a secret – it’s one of my best photographs.”

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On why she is retiring now, Ann said: “I’ll be 75 in a few weeks and I’ve worked a lot longer than I should have done, but now this is the right time to leave because everything is changing. We don’t do half the duties we did before so everything is changing and I think it’s a good time to go.”

Throughout the years, Ann has been involved with charity work in Gambia where she supports some families.

“I do support some families and I have got a couple of girls through school,” she said.

Ann said she often travels to the country to help families.

“I do go quite often but I’ve not been since lockdown. I just got back as lockdown started so I haven’t been for two years in March,” she said.

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“I go with a friend and I am hoping to go next month, but it’s hard to get people to go with me – it is quite expensive to go to Gambia but it’s the fact it isn’t really an ideal holiday.

“I enjoy it, you either love it or you hate it, but it is nice to see them developing. We just bought a fridge for one girl because she is hoping to start her own business so we bought her the fridge. I’ve got a girl in Peru who I have put through school since she was five so she’ll just about be finished now.”

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