From April 2022 Martin Cooke of Heritage & Leisure has been working closely with Sibyl Fine King DL during her year as High Sheriff of Dorset. Martin has played a leading role in organising a number of High Sheriff events including the Declaration ceremony in the drawing studio at AUB in April, Summer Party at Durlston Castle in July and the Legal Service in Branksome in November.
The Office of High Sheriff is a non-political Royal appointment. Every county’s High Sheriff is proposed by the local community and then selected by the Privy Council and in March, the Sovereign who, by ancient custom, uses a silver bodkin to ‘prick’ a hole through a vellum scroll against the appointed name to confirm the appointment. High Sheriffs represent His Majesty The King in each county in matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the Sovereign for the maintenance of law and order within the shire or county and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown.
Martin has also supported the High Sheriff by managing the Nature Heals funding stream. This funding implemented directly with local organisations and via the Dorset Community Foundation has provided grants to community groups using the benefits of the natural world to improve the lives of local people.