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End of a civic era!

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Richard Watson has recently completed his year in office as Sheriff of York. His final speech to the civic party and a large number of distinguished guests included the following comments:

"We came to office with the strap line of, "A prosperous York and an inclusive York" and we have borne this in mind at every turn. Our commitment to the economic prosperity of the City in difficult times has provided a rich and varied involvement with the City.

Inclusivity means so much. There have been those wonderful moments with individual charities and organisations... ... ...

Our role is very much a people role; meeting people from York, who have come to York and those visiting York. This has allowed us to mix with those representative bodies in York - the Guilds, the military, the Church, the Lord Lieutenancy, its Deputies and the High Sheriffs, the musicians, the arts and those involved with sport, the charities, youth groups, voluntary organisations and those who have helped run the Lord Mayor's Charities. They represent the social fabric of the City... ... ...

There is a special relationship between the Mansion House and the Minster. The mother church of the City holds a unique place in our affections. We have been there to share their joy at events such as the St George's Day parade and we have witnessed our saddest moments, at the two military funerals for a Dragoon Guard and a Marine, at which the very fabric of the great building seemed to weep.

Our relationship with the Army and Air Force has also taken on a special meaning, all the more so because of the times. We welcomed home 2 Signal Regiment from Herrick 12 and our most humbling moment was having the honour of presenting medals to those coming back from Afghanistan.

Unknown to many is the fact that one of the most important wetlands in Europe, the Lower Derwent Valley, touches our city. We have been able to join nature conservationists from across the country and the world in launching the new facilities at Bank Island in Wheldrake and, indeed, to launch an international children's book on the flight path of the migrating whimbrel...
So we leave office with a host of memories and a realisation that the experiences of the year have been life changing. Hugely enjoyable, a tremendous honour and frankly humbling, there is now a great deal on which to reflect. To those who take up office now we wish you the very best."

Richard has also recently stepped down after completing more than 20 years service as a Councillor on the City of York Council.

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