Denise is the county’s new High Sheriff

AN ALDWICK woman has become the latest holder of one of the oldest positions in Britain.

Denise Patterson, of Aldwick Bay, will take office next March as the High Sheriff for West Sussex,

She will be the latest holder of the oldest continuous secular office under the crown in the country.

Mrs Patterson’s name was written into history in a nomination ceremony at London’s High Court last week. It is an occasion which has been taking place since before the Norman Conquest.

Judges and court officials gathered at the court to preside over the nomination of 51 High Sheriffs and their deputies from around England and Wales.

The ceremony took place in the Lord Chief Justice’s Court at London’s Royal Courts of Justice before the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, Lady Justice Black, Mrs Justice Swift and Mr Justice Holroyde.

In Saxon times, sheriffs of each county went to the King’s or Queen’s Court to give account for the money they collected on the monarch’s behalf.

They no longer collect money but they still attend court each year to be nominated.

High Sheriffs are among their area’s top dignitaries and are expected to attend royal visits to their counties.

Many are also involved in local and national schemes that reflect their historical functions. These include National Crimebeat to stop young people falling into crime, and DebtCred to improve financial literacy.

Another ancient ceremony will take place before Mrs Patterson begins her role.The Queen will use a silver bodkin to prick her name in a parchment list to provide the royal seal of approval.