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UK NRI To Be UK's First Sikh High Sheriff


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
London: Resham Singh Sandhu, a prominent Indian-origin multicultural leader selected as the new High Sheriff of Leicestershire, says he is honoured and it’s a matter of privilege to serve the office.

Sandhu, who was awarded the MBE in 2002, migrated to Leicestershire from Punjab 38 years ago. He will be the first turban-wearing Sikh in the UK to hold the office of High Sheriff.

"It's a great honour and privilege. This is going to set a good image of Great Britain. People can see that if you really work hard and deserve it, you can become a civic dignitary. It promotes multi-culturalism," he told the media in Leicester.

He added: "My family in Punjab always worked with communities and to help other people. When I came over here I wanted to do the same. I didn't do it because I wanted to be recognised for it ? I never expected that".

Sandhu, a former chairman of Leicester's council of faiths, was commissioned in 2006 as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Leicestershire. He will wear the same ceremonial uniform for the role of High Sheriff.

Sandhu will succeed Colonel Robert Martin in either March or April next year and will be expected to attend royal visits and be entitled to act as a returning officer in parliamentary elections.

The High Sheriff is a volunteer, unpaid and in office for one year, and is the Queen's representative for law and order in the county, reports from Leicester said. The Office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in the UK after the Crown. Leicestershire has had High Sheriffs since 1172.

Historically, responsibilities included tax collection, conscription and maintaining law and order, but today the role is chiefly attending royal visits and acting as returning officer in parliamentary elections.

Before the High Sheriffs take up office next March, a second ceremony will take place at the Privy Council in London.

At the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth, using a silver bodkin in a practice dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria, will ***** their names on a parchment list to give their appointments the royal seal of approval.