A NEW High Sheriff has been appointed for Essex.

Simon Brice described it as an honour to take on the role as a proud Essex man, born and bred.

He has become the 841st High Sheriff of Essex and is determined to make current-day issues, including domestic abuse, modern slavery, county lines, mental health and rural crime, his priorities in his year of office.

The High Sheriff supports the emergency services and voluntary sectors within their counties.

The role is a non-political Royal appointment for a year.

Simon, whose family have farmed in Witham for five generations, said: “It is a challenge to plan the year ahead, as there are still some uncertainties around Covid-19 restrictions, but I am looking forward to getting out and meeting people face to face as much as I can.

“The voluntary and charity sector and our excellent police, fire and ambulance services, as well as Essex County Council, the unitary authorities and district councils, have all stepped up to the mark over the past difficult year.

“They all deserve thanks and support as they continue to do a tremendous job to serve the county.

“I think as High Sheriff it is possible to see things behind the scenes that others don’t have the chance to see.

“I could be having a discussion with a High Court judge one day, then talking to someone addicted to drugs or a victim of domestic abuse the following day.

“Coming from a family who have farmed near Witham for five generations, we have seen many changes over the years and, just as farming has evolved, Essex will continue to change and adapt as we slowly come out of the Covid pandemic.

“It is humbling when you hear how grants from the fund can make a difference to vital volunteer and charity groups and how a little can go a long way in providing help.

“I am also looking forward to linking with Essex Community Fund for the High Sheriff’s awards which do a great job towards boosting morale and recognising the excellent work of many organisations in the county.

“Essex is a remarkable and diverse county, faced with many challenges and I look forward to supporting and working with great people throughout the county in my year of office.”