Ancient county role is a family affair for Michael

The new High Sheriff of Northumberland, Michael Orde, with Issy Maxwell, his piper for his shrieval year.
The new High Sheriff of Northumberland, Michael Orde, with Issy Maxwell, his piper for his shrieval year.

Northumberland’s new High Sheriff is Michael Orde, from Nunnykirk.

His formal installation took place in St Giles Church, Netherwitton. During the ceremony, he appointed the Venerable Geoff Miller as his chaplain and Issy Maxwell as his piper for his year in office.

The role dates back to Saxon times when the Shire Reeve, or Sheriff, was appointed to maintain law and order in the shires and it was retained after the Normans invaded, with the first recorded High Sheriff of Northumberland being appointed in 1076 by King William I.

Today, the unpaid voluntary role appointed by the Queen concentrates on upholding and supporting the judiciary, police and law enforcement agencies, emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups as well as supporting and encouraging the voluntary sector.

Michael was born and raised in Northumberland, where he works as a director of Savills in the rural division of its Corbridge and Wooler offices, as well as farming sheep and cattle in partnership with his wife, Samantha.

He is the sixth member of the Orde family to be appointed to the role, including his father, David, in 1970.

Michael said: “It is with both enthusiasm and some trepidation that I embark upon my year in office, humbled by the weight of history.

“Northumberland has a fund, administered by The Community Foundation, that was set up 25 years ago and through which successive High Sheriffs of Northumberland have raised monies to give out in awards to voluntary and community groups across the county that encourage young people to engage in useful and beneficial activities.

“A total of about £500,000 has been awarded over the life of the fund, with £42,250 given to 61 groups last year.

“It will be part of my challenge to raise funds in a similar way to fund awards in my year to support young people.”