As Gerry’s time as High Sheriff of Greater Manchester has come to end I asked Gerry some questions about being the High Sheriff! Gerry was chosen by the Queen to become High Sheriff of Greater Manchester in April 2017.His installation took place at Whitworth Hall in Manchester on the 13th April.
Throughout the year Gerry has been extremely busy helping and supporting the local community, charities, education sectors and volunteers.
The first question I asked Gerry was:
‘What was your favourite part of being the High Sheriff?’
A: That is a very difficult question to answer, there were formal engagements for example Royal visits, Judges Dinners and Civic events and there were also some unusual events like the 5 million pound donation from Dr Lee Kai Hung to the University of Manchester.
It is very difficult to pick one thing as the role was a privilege to engage with so many people and learn about the good work they do and support them all. I found the role very fun and enjoyable and at times emotional, such as the Manchester Arena attack. The ‘thanks giving service’ that took place after the attack was to thank people who have donated bodies for medical research and training.
One funny part of my time as High Sheriff was at the Manchester annual legal walk, where we walked to raise money to help people get access to the justice system. I was in Manchester making a speech before the walk and I drew my sword and said ‘follow me’ and started the walk. It turned a few heads to say the least!
‘What will you miss about being High Sheriff of Greater Manchester?’
A: I will miss the vibrancy and busyness I felt I was ‘always on a high’ and I will miss the red carpet treatment!!
‘Is there anything you will carry on doing or supporting?’
A: I am still doing a lot of work now it’s called the ‘extension of the year’ I still plan to work with charities and community organisations. On Wednesday night I attended the Octagon Theatre, there was a 'Chairman’s Reception'. The chair of the board of trustees at the Octagon Claire Moreland invited me to the final production of The Big Corner performance. The theatre is preparing to close for its biggest transformation in it's history.
‘Is there anything that changed you or changed your view on things?’
A: I wouldn’t say changed me, but it has reinforced me to remember how blessed of a society we live in, and the good will, generosity and humanity the people of Manchester have. The more that I get involved it just confirms my view of a blessed society. Also I think people in a position of authority are very respectful and humble too. One thing that I think I have improved on is my public speaking!
I asked Joanne (Gerry's wife) what her favourite part was, she said she enjoyed visiting all the schools in the Greater Manchester area, as well as meeting the Police Cadets and especially meeting the Royal family!
I also asked Margaret Gore, Gerry’s personal assistant what her favourite part of the High Sheriff year was.
A: In general how friendly everyone was, I felt I was becoming part of a huge team. I did enjoy attending Hough End to see the training dogs and horses. Also during Gerry’s installation Angie Stanton gave me, Gerry and Joanne a blessing which was very lovely. Also during the installation the organ playing was very inspirational. There are so many moments, it’s very hard to pick one, but I think mainly feeling proud of Gerry!
Gerry said that being High Sheriff of Greater Manchester had been a privilege and an education and he will continue to support the Manchester community.
There were so many photos taken throughout the year, here are a just a small handfull!
Photo 1. Gerry winning his award at the North West of England Greater China Business Awards
Photo 2. Under Sheriff of the County Palatine of Lancaster, Mr David Cam DL, Gerry and Carl Austin-Behan (who was Lord Mayor of Manchester)
Photo 3. Gerry and Alex (aged 8) from Seashell Trust
Photo 4. Rummies Bistro students when Gerry and Joanne were invited for lunch and a tour of the school
Photo 5. Gerry and Under Sheriff of the County Palatine of Lancaster, Mr David Cam DL
Photo 6. Gerry and Joanne and the Manchester Street Angels
Photo 7. Gerry at Stockport on Remembrance Sunday
Photo 8. Rummies Bistro students and Gerry when they came to Yang Sing Cathay
Photo 9. Gerry and the Police Cadets