James Perry has been appointed High Sheriff of County Antrim for 2016 by the Secretary of State.
Dating back centuries, the High Sheriff is historically known to be the Sovereign’s judicial representative in the County and Mr Perry officially took over the prestigious ceremonial role on January 1.
Mr Perry said: “The role, in historic terms, is the oldest secular dignitary under the crown and dates back over 1,000 years.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake the role of High Sheriff for County Antrim for 2016. I look forward to being able to undertake all of the responsibilities in a way which best serves the local community,” he said.
A chartered accountant by profession, Mr Perry, who hails from Gracehill, has held senior management positions in Northern Ireland Electricity and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and ran a small family business in Ahoghill with his wife from 2004 until February, last year.
He is currently Chairman of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council - the regulatory body for social care in the Province; is Chairman of Ulster Supported Employment Limited which helps provide and support employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and, is also a member of the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland and is chair of its Audit Committee.
A former Chairman of Board of Governors of Ballymena Academy for 10 years, Mr Perry is still actively involved in the school’s Old Pupils’ Association and is also an active member of Ballymena Rotary Club and an active member of highly successful ‘Ahoghill In Bloom’ team.
In his new role of High Sheriff he will be involved in arrangements to greet Royal Visitors to the County and also involved in the presentation of ‘County Antrim Grand Jury Bursary Awards’, granted each year to selected law students at Queen’s University.
It is also understood that the role may require certain court duties to be undertaken in the event that there is a High Court Judge sitting in Ballymena.
Best wishes for his year as High Sheriff of the County were extended to Mr Perry by the Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Cllr Billy Ashe, at the outset of Monday night’s January monthly meeting of Council.
Also congratulating him on his appointment on behalf of Mid & East Antrim Council’s TUV Group, Alderman for Bannside Stewart McDonald, said: “This is a distinguished role and one in which Mr Perry can be proud, as we are of him. I wish him every success in his new role.”