Our Guest of Honour this year was Mr Jonathan Douglas Hughes OBE DL who is a senior partner of Gepp & Sons, solicitors in Chelmsford and Under Sheriff for the county of Essex.
In his speech Mr Douglas-Hughes concentrated on his work as Under Sheriff. This is very much a legal role and, in particular, he has on his staff four bailiffs. He is not involved in the day to day collection of small dues but becomes involved in major recoveries.
He recounted the story of a Boeing 707 presidential jet that was flown into Stansted from Africa with the president’s family. The owner of the aircraft (not the president or his government) required payment of the leasing dues and others required payment for the fuel. As a result the aircraft was seized and the under Sheriff ultimately disposed of the plane to recover as much money as possible.