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Friday, 31 October 2014

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New High Sheriff of Cumbria installed

An historic ceremony was a “bitter-sweet occasion” as Cumbria bid farewell to many of its dignitaries.

Cumbria sheriff photo
Outgoing High Sheriff Juliet Westoll, left and incoming High Sheriff Diana Matthews

Diana Ruth Matthews was officially installed into the role of High Sheriff of Cumbria for 2013/14 in a ceremony steeped with history.

Judge Peter Hughes QC was presiding judge at Wednesday’s event, held in Court Three of the city’s crown court. He was seated alongside Jennifer Farmer JP, chairman of the South Lakeland bench.

Mrs Matthews, from Windermere, read her Declaration before a room filled with distinguished guests including past High Sheriffs, Mayor of Carlisle David Wilson and Cumbria’s acting deputy chief constable Michelle Skeer.

Outgoing High Sheriff Juliet Westoll officially handed over the badge of honour, marking the end of her year in office.

Judge Hughes said: “This annual ceremony is in some ways a bitter-sweet occasion. As we welcome the incoming High Sheriff Diana Matthews and wish her success in her year in office, we also say adieu to the outgoing High Sheriff Juliet Westoll.

“This year is of even greater significance as we also welcome our new Under Sheriff for Cumberland, Mr Timothy Cartmell, and say goodbye after 13 years to his predecessor Hugh Fitzgerald.”

The judge paid tribute to Mr Fitzgerald’s work in supporting High Sheriffs in their roles.

“But as if the arrivals and departures lounge was not already a little crowded, this last year has also seen the retirement of the Lord Lieutenant Sir James Cropper, and today we welcome Claire Hensman,” Judge Hughes added.

“I am personally delighted she has been able to join me on this bench, as she was herself High Sheriff when I was first appointed to sit here.”

Mrs Matthews is the 39th High Sheriff of Cumbria – and the third woman in as many years.

Mrs Matthews said she has many plans for the year, including working with small charities through the Cumbria Community Foundation and particularly helping young people with business initiatives. “I’m going to get to know bits of Cumbria I didn’t know existed,” she added.

Mrs Westoll said: “I’ve had a wonderful, extremely privileged year, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.”

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