Former MP Sir Bob Russell becomes High Sheriff of Colchester
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
A former Colchester MP was last night appointed as High Steward of the town.
Sir Bob Russell has become the 23rd person to hold the role, which originates back to the time of King Charles I.
The former Liberal Democrat MP who represented Colchester from 1997 until this May’s election, also served as a borough councillor from 1971 to 2002 – during which time he was mayor in 1986/7 and council leader from 1987-1991.
Sir Bob was appointed to the life-long ceremonial role following a cross-party motion at Colchester Borough Council in recognition of his long service to the town, and was invested at a special meeting of the authority last night.
It is believed he is only the second person to have held all three positions of mayor, MP and High Steward.
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Sir Bob said: “It is a great, incredible honour, I am filled with civic pride.
“I am extremely grateful to the borough council for bestowing this on me, and I am delighted to receive it.
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“The fact it has been backed by all four political groups on the council is something I am particularly pleased with.”
Established by a Royal Charter in 1635 the role was an advisory one, though in 1835 most High Steward positions across the country were abolished.
Colchester kept its steward under the condition it became a purely ceremonial role.