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Pertemps boss Tim stoops to conquer and claims ancient title

November 19, 2013

_MG_6266 - CopyONE title stands out as the most famous in English folklore – and you don’t have to be a student of history to have heard of Robin Hood’s despised adversary, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Well, the ancestral role of High Sheriff goes back more than 1,000 years – long before the Norman Conquest or ‘bad’ King John held sway – and judges have gathered annually at the High Court in an official ceremony nominating the 51 holders of the said title and their deputies from all over England and Wales.

In Saxon times, sheriffs – or Shire Reeves as they were originally known – of each county went to the King’s or Queen’s Court to give account for the money they collected on behalf of the monarch.

While the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector.

Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work.

While High Sheriffs no longer collect money for the monarch, their annual attendance at court has continued.

Last week those nominations were taking place again in a time-honoured tradition at the country’s finest court room, the Lord Chief Justice’s Court at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, before the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, Lord Justice Goldring, Mr Justice Silber and Mr Justice Tugendhat.

Among those present was old friend and one of the region’s most famous businessmen – who is now next in line to take on the grand title of High Sheriff for the West Midlands.

Step forward Pertemps chairman Tim Watts who will take up his new office next April – succeeding retiring BirminghamMetropolitanCollege principal Dame Christine Braddock.

The head of the Meriden-based recruitment group is one of the most high profile business figures in the region and I first bumped into him when helping him launch a new newspaper for Walsall just over 30 years ago.

More than a decade ago we were back in business together when I started my own series of Sunday newspapers for Tamworth, Sutton Coldfield and Stoke on Trent.

The dynamic Tamworth-in-Arden entrepreneur, who himself has conquered many a bottom line in businesses he’s ruled, will bring his own unique style to the job. And I’m sure he’ll fair even better than everyone’s top two ‘lawmen’ – Wyatt Earp from the American Wild West and loveable Woody from Disney’s Toy Story.

Though the role goes unpaid, High Sheriffs rank among top dignitaries in their areas. They are expected to attend at royal visits to their counties, as well as being entitled to act as returning officers in parliamentary elections.

They also have a responsibility for the well being and protection of High Court Judges when on Circuit in the county and for the maintenance of the loyalty of subjects to the Crown.

Good luck for your year of office – perhaps ‘Sir Tim’ by the end of your reign.

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