New High Steward for Harwich
Only 24 places in England have the right to elect a High Steward and Harwich is one of them.
The right was established under Harwich’s Royal charter granted by King James I in 1604 and, although it has been a purely ceremonial role since 1789, it is a position that Harwich is very proud of. The position is in the gift of Harwich Town Council and, beginning with John Cutting in 1604, to date there have been thirty three High Stewards of Harwich. The position is granted for life and, last month, Chris Strachan became the first ever High Steward of Harwich to relinquish the post, making way for Harwich Town Council to elect a new High Steward.
Harwich Town Council is delighted to announce that the 34th High Steward of Harwich is to be Sue Daish, the first ever woman to occupy the position in its 420 year history.
In keeping with Harwich Town Council’s policy of electing a High Steward who is a respected member of the local community, Sue Daish is a long standing volunteer at Harwich’s Electric Palace cinema, is active within the Harwich Secret Gardens initiative, is part of the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust which established the ‘Safe Haven’ Kindertransport memorial on Harwich Quay and is a trustee of the Harwich Society. Within the Harwich Society Sue is one of the Society’s guide panel members, providing tours of Historic Harwich to visitors and was the Harwich Society’s first ‘Lighthouse keeper’ when the Harwich Society took over the High Lighthouse as a visitor attraction and Sue became its curator.
Sue is used to ‘firsts’ as she was one of the first female and one of the youngest Home Office immigration officers when she began her 41 year career in the civil service at Parkeston Quay (Harwich International Port). She was also one of the first female entry certificate officers to work for the Foreign Office overseas. Sue then followed this up by becoming Harwich Haven Authority’s first female pier master occupying the post on Harwich’s Ha’penny Pier for five years.
Sue has three children, one grandson, two step children and two step granddaughters.
Sue Daish says, “When I was offered the position of High Steward of Harwich I was so overwhelmed I didn’t really take in much of the conversation. It is a wonderful honour for which I am extremely grateful and I am proud to accept. Taking over from Chris Strachan means I have very large shoes to fill but Chris and Celia have accepted my invitation to be present when I take office which means a lot to me and which will be very special.”
The ceremony at which Sue Daish will be elected High Steward of Harwich will take place in Harwich’s Guildhall at 11AM on Thursday 25th April and will be followed by a civic procession and a civic church service in Saint Nicholas’ church in Harwich.
“By pure coincidence, the day of the ceremony is Chris Strachan’s 85th birthday so everything seems to be coming together perfectly,” continued Sue Daish. “I am very mindful of the trust that Harwich Town Council is placing in me and I will do all that I can to represent our wonderful town to the best of my ability.”
Mayor of Harwich, Cllr. Maria Fowler, says, “As soon as Sue Daish’s name was put forward there was an immediate consensus. We then had to hold our collective breath until she accepted. We are certain that, in Sue Daish, we have a fitting successor to Chris Strachan and we look forward to Sue being elected as the 32nd High Steward of Harwich.”
For further information please contact:
Sue Daish on 07917 574168
Lucy Ballard, clerk to Harwich Town Council on 01255 507211