President's Page (May 18)

How quickly time goes by. It only seems like yesterday that I attended the AGM when Andy Cash took over as President, Simon Stephens stepped up to become Vice President and I accepted the position of Deputy Vice President.  I recall thinking, rather foolishly I now know, that there was plenty of time to consider and plan for the year that is now upon us.

It was great to see so many members at the AGM to support the society and the committee without whom we would not have the Society that we do.  Following the AGM, I almost set a record for the shortest term as president after narrowly avoiding being run over.  Had it not been for Julia’s intervention, it may have been Martin Salt writing this introduction as well as a few words explaining what had happened during the 60 or so minutes that I held the role of President.  This I am sure, will be the first of many thanks that I and the committee will give to Julia over the coming year.

In a first for Derby & District Law Society we had two applicants for the position of Deputy Vice President and that is one of three firsts for the Society.  Also for the first time we will be supporting and working with a charity; the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre (DCHC).  For those of you who have not heard of DCHC, it was established in 1891 to provide disadvantaged children in Derbyshire with holiday breaks to Skegness. Today, DCHC provides hundreds of children aged between 7 and 13 with a comfortable, caring and safe environment for much needed respite.  I have been fortunate enough to visit the Centre in Skegness and to speak to the staff who support the children who benefit from the work of this amazing charity. I hope that together we can not only raise the profile of DCHC, but that we can also raise money to ensure that they can continue to help Derbyshire children for many years to come.  I am in the process of arranging a sponsored cycle around Derbyshire and further details will be provided shortly.

The third first is the introduction of the Derby and District Law Society Legal Awards. At our Annual Dinner in 2019, we will celebrate the thriving local profession that we are all a part of with a number of awards for which we will be accepting nominations later this year.  After relocating to Derby some ten years ago, I have seen numerous changes to the landscape of the profession locally. Legal Aid has been removed for the majority, firms have come and gone but our local profession continues to grow and I am proud to read and hear about the excellent work that is undertaken locally. The awards will be our celebration of that work and the efforts and achievements of our members.

I also hope that the next year will see a greater collaboration between the Derby and District Law Society and our partners at Derby Junior Lawyers.  Over the past few years we have seen the numbers getting involved with Derby Junior Lawyers grow and grow and this again shows the strength of our local profession.  We also have Derby Junior Lawyers to thank for arranging the Derby Legal Walk which was a huge hit last year and which will be taking place again on 11 June 2018.  The Walk is a 10km sponsored walk around Derby to raise money for local advice services in Derby and beyond.

I would finally like to take the opportunity to thank our friends and colleagues at the University of Derby and the Law School. Not only are we incredibly grateful for their sponsorship but we are so very lucky to have their support and partnership on numerous events throughout the year, including the Skills Triathlon, the Schools Debating Competition and the Mentoring Scheme. I have mentored law students from the University for a number of years through the Mentoring Scheme and I continue be amazed at the quality of students I meet.  If you have never thought of getting involved in the Scheme, I would definitely recommend it.

At the AGM, I recall using the words overwhelmingly humbled when describing my feelings about becoming President. It is a great honour and one that still fills me with a mix of excitement and nervousness.

I look forward to seeing you at our various events throughout the year and I thank you all for your continued support.