Mar 24 2009: New High Sheriff aims to support volunteer services
SOUTH Yorkshire’s next High Sheriff is to be Helena Muller, the chief executive of one of the region’s top charities.
The office of High Sheriff is one that dates back at least a thousand years to Saxon times and is the oldest secular office under the Crown.
Helena takes over the year-long post from current High Sheriff Giles Bloomer on April 7.
Born in Barnsley, the daughter of a Polish refugee, Helena, who is 59, grew up in the village of Thurgoland and was educated at Penistone Grammar School.
She left school to take up an apprenticeship with the West Riding School Meals Service, going on to study at Sheffield Polytechnic and Thomas Danby College, Leeds, gaining Diploma HCIMA(Hotel, Catering & International Management Assoc.)
Over the next few years she held many posts within school meals catering throughout the north, including Area Catering Advisor and Training Officer, West Riding County Council, from 1972 to 1985, Kirklees MBC, Rotherham MBC, North Yorkshire CC and finally Deputy County Catering Advisor for the County of Cumbria.
Married to the QC Franz Muller, the couple live in a village on the outskirts of Rotherham and have two sons, Julian, aged 22, and Henry, 21.
As she raised her family, Helena became increasingly involved in the voluntary sector, initially working with Rotherham Community Volunteer Service.
From 1993 to 1999 she was adviser for Live Music Now – Yorkshire, founded by Yehudi Menuhin.
In 1999 Helena identified the special needs of dementia sufferers, particularly in care homes and recognised the great contribution which live music could make to their lives.
With the help of funding from Henry Smith’s Charity, she founded Lost Chord which has since been supported by The National Lottery and many national and local charities. Lost Chord now annually provides over 800 interactive musical sessions given by highly trained professional musicians. It operates throughout South Yorkshire and the borders beyond as well as to a lesser extent in London and Cardiff.
She will continue in her post as chief executive of Lost Chord during her year as High Sheriff.
Among the many other organisations with which she has been involved are Westbourne School, Laughton Parish Council, The Alzheimers Society, the Carers Forum in Rotherham, the Council for Voluntary Services and Voluntary Bureau in Rotherham, Voluntary Action Rotherham, The Volunteer Sector Liaison Forum Rotherham, The Adult Services Consortium Rotherham and Rotherham and Barnsley Chamber of Commerce.
Helena’s interests include walking in the Lake District, skiing, classical music and embroidery.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge of the next 12 months though there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night, frightened to death at the prospect of what I have taken on,” she admitted.
“I have a very strong social conscience and feel this is a position of great responsibility so it is a real honour to have been chosen.
“The High Sheriff supports the Judiciary and all the other services including the police, the magistrates and the fire and ambulance services.
“But it is also incumbent on me to give as much help, support and guidance as possible to all the amazing people who do such incredible work in the voluntary sector, helping to improve the quality of life of people throughout South Yorkshire.”
Note to editors:
The role of the High Sheriff in the 21st Century is:
· To uphold and enhance the ancient Office of High Sheriff and make a meaningful contribution to the High Sheriff’s county during my Year of Office
· As the Queens representative in Law and Order Helena will be required to uphold and lend active support to the principal organs of the Constitution which covers
The Royal family
The Probation Service
The Prison Service
The Emergency Services ie Fire Service and Ambulance Service
Local authorities ( in respect of Crime Prevention)
All recognised church and faith groups.
· To assure the welfare of the visiting High Court Judges, to attend them at court and offer them hospitality.
· To support and encourage the voluntary sector.
· To support the Lord Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate.