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Essex welcomes its new High Sheriff

05 Apr Essex welcomes its new High Sheriff

Nicholas Alston CBE DL is starting his year as the 842nd High Sheriff, determined that the role which dates back to Anglo Saxon times, is aligned with current day issues.

At the top of his list of priorities for his year in office, is shining a light on the vital role that volunteers play in giving their time and expertise to supporting local charities and improving communities for the benefit of others.

Nick, who was born in Harwich Police Station in 1952, spent 30 years working in national defence and security for which he was appointed CBE in 1996. He lives in Chelmsford with his wife Philippa and describes himself as “a thoroughly Essex boy”.

He is Chair of Trustees at the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), is a Governor at Anglia Ruskin University, previously chaired the Mid-Essex Hospitals Trust and until recently was Chair of the drug and alcohol charity, Open Road.

“I am delighted to have been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to this most ancient of roles”, said Nick.

“Essex is a wonderfully diverse county, and I am looking forward to getting out and meeting as many people as I can. I want to highlight the important work of local charities, community groups and volunteers and to draw attention to some of the issues that they are tackling.

“Our communities will inevitably have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to better understand the impact this has had and what the future may look like as we all move ahead.”

“I am also looking forward to spending time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, the Courts and in particular the Probation and Prison Services, to understand the pressures they face in keeping us all safe.”

Nick will regularly share details of his visits and activities on the High Sheriff of Essex website and on social media. He said, “I hope people will find my visits and experiences interesting and that they may learn something they did not already know. I hope too that I might be able to encourage more people to think how they might volunteer in their own communities.”

To mark the start of his year, Nick has published a book celebrating 25 years of the High Sheriffs’ Fund in Essex, which includes contributions from past High Sheriffs and beautiful photographs from around the County. Each year the Fund supports groups of many different sorts across Essex working to make their communities safer.

“I hope to be able to raise money for the Fund from the book and from other events during the year, and as ECF runs the ‘Proceeds of Crime Matched Funding Scheme’, thanks to the support of Essex Police, all donations I receive will be matched on a 2 to 1 basis. This means that for every £2 received ECF will add £1, and if Gift Aid can be claimed it nearly doubles the value of donations.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Nick has a busy time ahead, with events and visits already in his diary, including a summer reception that he and Pippa are planning for July at RHS Hyde Hall. We wish him good luck and look forward to supporting him during his year and sharing his progress.”.

You can follow Nick’s journey at and by following @Essex_HS on Twitter.