PATRICK CAIRNS BLOG 3 JULY 2015
This has been a slightly longer interval between blogs that I would have preferred to be the case, but there is much to tell you about since my last posting. On the 1st of June we hosted a visit by the Yorkshire High Sheriffs.
The office of High Sherriff is an ancient one dating back to Saxon times, and was traditionally responsible to the Monarch for the maintenance of law and order within the County. Not surprisingly the office has evolved and these days High Sheriffs play an increasingly active and supportive role within their Counties both in relation to the Police and emergency services, and in lending encouragement to public sector agencies such as the probation and prison services and to voluntary sector organisations involved in crime reduction and social cohesion. It was an enjoyable visit, and all part of raising the profile and awareness of the work that we do within the PTC as none of the latest batch of High Sheriffs had visited the PTC before.
The following weekend my wife and I had the privilege of attending the RUC George Cross Memorial Service in Northern Ireland. Events of this nature are both humbling and inspiring, and it is always a reflective moment to think on the sacrifices and stresses that our colleagues in the RUC and the PSNI today have made in their dedicated service to the Crown.
The second week of June was heavily focused on preparation for and then the actual PTC AGM which we held this year in our Centre at Harrogate. In recent years we have paid to hold the event in a town Conference Facility, but by holding it back at our Centre, not only did it save us the money that we would have paid to a separate facility, it was also an opportunity to show case our excellent facilities at St Andrews.
All of our staff from our Chefs to the Dining Hall and Housekeeping teams did a superb job putting together the logistics and administration on the day, and the AGM was universally regarded as a success. If you want to catch up with what happened, our Annual Report for 2014 is now on our web page.
The following day after the AGM I travelled up to Durham for a meeting with Mike Barton the Chief Constable who is a strong supporter of the PTC, and this was also an opportunity to say farewell to DCC Michael Banks who has been an exemplary Trustee and committed ambassador for the PTC. Michael Banks did us one more favour as he retired, he sourced his replacement on the Board, and I have also welcomed and briefed ACC Dave Orford to the Board of Trustees, on his initial visit to the PTC recently.
At the end of what had been a busy week, in a moment of madness I had agreed some months before to be a member of the PTC Team for the Knaresborough Bed Race on 13 June 2015, without actually realising what that might involve. I have done a few hard challenges in my time, and I think that I am far enough away from the Bed Race now to say I “quite” enjoyed it, but my goodness it was very demanding and incredibly hard work. I suspect like many of us I still look at it through what I think are the eyes of a 25 year old, and forget that I am 51 next month and probably need to retire gracefully from events like this whilst I still can, with dignity mostly intact!
The following week it was literally planes trains and automobiles, as I drove with Peter Moore our CFO down to Flint House (our sister charity in Goring) for their AGM, once that was complete it was on the train to Heathrow, then a flight up to Edinburgh, and a final car journey to visit Castlebrae for a Head of Department Meeting in the Centre. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with DCC Neil Richardson from Police Scotland who is also a PTC Trustee in an office call with him the following morning, and update him on some of the evolving issues with the PTC.
This week we have focussed on the formal opening of our “Cottage” at St Andrews where our President the Hon Simon Howard cut the ribbon for us.
For those of you who are not aware, the Cottage provides a welcome home from home where officers, who need treatment at the PTC but have dependant or carer responsibilities, can book the cottage for their stay at the PTC, and bring any dependants that they are responsible for with them. The cottage has been refurbished, and now is an impressive and homely asset to the PTC.
Finally to end on a positive note and hot off the Press, I am delighted to say that I have just received a cheque from the North Yorks Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan for £5000 to support our work at the PTC. Not all PCCs give us money, but Julia has always been very generous with donations from her office to the PTC and values and supports our work, and I would like to personally thank her and her Chief Constable Dave Jones who is also a very strong advocate for the PTC, for their unstinting support of the PTC.