The post appears to be a Royal appointment. The City Solicitor (a post once held by Albert Lewis, father of the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis) set down many requirements that the candidate needed to swear and affirm. Part was to look after and maintain the Royal properties and interests in the County Borough of Belfast. Ian replied “I so swear and affirm” adding “so help me God”.
Ian opened his speech of acceptance by remarking that he had thought that a Sheriff had something to do with Nottingham and Robin Hood, raising general laughter. In the remainder of his speech he dwelt on the etymology of the title and historical development of its role in terms that will be familiar to those who have read his blog The High Sheriff, by Cllr Dr Ian Adamson OBE (Saturday, January 1. 2011). He concluded with the hope that he wouldn't have to call out the posse comitatus, as his equivalents in the Wild West had commonly done. This too raised much laughter.
The retiring High Sheriff (who had been the youngest ever to hold the position in Belfast's history) opened his speech with “Follow that!” He conceded that the post was now largely ceremonial and stated that he has raised £86,000 for charity during his own year as High Sheriff.
After these speeches people began to take many photographs – these included the official photographer of the City Council who must have taken at least a hundred, snapping every few seconds. I had taken a few photos myself but the camera battery gave out calling an end to my actitives. Nonetheless, I had taken a couple of decent ones, including that of a group comprising (left to right) – the former High Sheriff (youngest in Belfast's history), Ian Adamson, Mrs Kerry Adamson, Lord Mayor; and one of the red-jacketed Toastmaster who wore the ribbon of the MBE.
The presence of the singer Van Morrison as a guest surprised me. Ian has written earlier today of his links with “The Bard of Ireland”. You can read the Belfast City Council account of the event which has a photo of “Van the Man” with Cllr & Mrs Adamson (link given below). And there are better versions of my own photos in High Sheriff on Mister Keep Fit.
Swearing-in, Friday, January 21. 2011
The High Sheriff, by Cllr Dr Ian Adamson OBE (Saturday, January 1. 2011).
New High Sheriff sworn in Belfast City Council News 20 January 2011