THE High Sheriff of Hampshire visited The Hampshire Court Hotel this morning to receive his second Covid vaccine.

Phillip Sykes was given a warm welcome by staff and volunteers when he arrived in his formal attire to be given a dose of the Pfizer jab.

The 66-year-old, who lives in Steventon, was met by his wife Caroline who is a GP at Camrose, Gillies, and Hackwood Partnership in Basingstoke, and who has been assisting with the vaccine rollout in the town.

However, it was Ken Taylor who administered the vaccine for the Sheriff. 

Ken received more than 40 hours’ training to help with the vaccine rollout, having previously worked in finance for the NHS.

Speaking to the Gazette, the High Sheriff said he experienced no side effects following his first vaccine, adding: “It was completely painless and I had absolutely no side effects.”

He praised the “multidisciplinary” team at The Hampshire Court Hotel for hitting an incredible 100,000 vaccines administered since December, adding: “What an amazing example of a community working together in the face of such a challenge.

“None of this would be possible without every single person who is involved, so on behalf of all us well done to all of you who stepped forward to help at the hotel, and all of you who are holding the fort back at your practices, thank you. This is genuinely saving lives and getting us out of this pandemic.”

The High Sheriff is a role that is part of a tradition dating back to Saxon times.

It is an independent non-political royal appointment which lasts for a year, with the origins dating back to Saxon times when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible for maintaining law and order within the shire, or county.

In the past it also involved collecting taxes due to the Crown.

However, the role has since evolved with High Sheriffs today typically supporting crime prevention agencies, the emergency services, and the voluntary sector.

There are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.