The post of High Sheriff goes back to the time of the Magna Carta but the role has changed! Jane Cranstone has been an outstanding High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 2017/18. I was among those she presented with a community award this year. In any other year I would have hesitated accepting it but 2018 is so appropriate. KOA was founded in 1969 and through it every year for 50 years the Oxfordshire Village of Kennington where I live has raised money for an overseas charity -probablythe only village in the world to do so.
As well as buildings like a Children’s Ward in Southern Sudan, a library in Bonou and a Community Centre in South Africa with Kennington’s name on, two projects have led to several governments in Africa adopting the policies our projects pioneered. I have been involved for 40 years and for 16 of those I have been the chairman. In its 50th and final year I felt it should receive some recognition.
I recently produced Poems in an Exhibition with the help of Dwina Gibb ( Robin Gibb’s widow), the artist Weimin He and a group of fabulous poets who were appropriately born in to 5 continents but connect to Oxford. The anthology was for one of the young charities KOA supported at critical time – Standing Voice . By Helping People to Help Themselves KOA has changed lives for the better the lives of tens of thousands . Not bad for a village in Oxfordshire !
It was a moving evening in Christ Church (College). John Lindquist is a Vietnam veteran who settled in Minster Lovell where he is now known as Mr Minster Lovell ! Most weeks he is seen with his wheel barrow tidying up the village, repairing street furniture clearing away fallen branches etc. Lorraine Green is the lynch at The Porch a wonderful project welcoming in homeless people . Ron Dale was given his award 75 years late. As a young man Ron pulled a Canadian airman out of a crashed and burning plane during WW2 . Thanks to the award relations of that airman will visit Witney this year to thank him