A former paediatrician who spent 50 years working in medicine was sworn in as the county’s high sheriff at a ceremony in Northampton.
Dr Ahmed Mukhtar, who spent eight years as medical director at Kettering General Hospital, took over the largely ceremonial role from his predecessor Anne Burnett.
He will now serve for one year supporting “all aspects of law and order” on behalf of the Queen in Northamptonshire.
The ceremony last Friday saw him appear in front of a number of county dignitaries at a swearing in ceremony at Northampton Crown Court.
Judge Rupert Mayo, leading the ceremony, compared the transferring of the honour to the demolition of Greyfriars bus station yards away from the Lady’s Lane courthouse.
He said: “While one gracefully but irreversibly withdraws, the other arises squeaky clean and ready for the challenge.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Dr Mukhtar, who is originally from Sudan but now lives in the Kettering area, said: “It’s an honour to be given the role.
“I look forward to my year in office.
“I want to work in support of, and celebrate, the efforts of those people and help young people and children in the county.”
Dr Mukhtar said while many of his duties are ceremonial, he is the official returning officer for Parliamentary constituencies across the county, barring two in Northampton, at the forthcoming General Election, although he said the chief executives of councils in the county will perform the majority of those duties.
Dr Mukhtar becomes only the third black recipient of the title of high sheriff in the country since 1818.
He is also the first high sheriff to feature a camel on his coat of arms, which he said was a tribute to his grandfather, who kept a herd of camels.
Since retiring in 2004, Dr Mukhtar has served for a number of years on the governing council of University College Northampton and its successor the University of Northampton.
He is also an associate examiner of the General Medical Council, and is a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
Sheriff’s role is one of country’s oldest
The office of sheriff is one of the country’s oldest roles and pre-dates the Norman conquest.
Sheriffs are chosen by a panel and are given the seal of approval by the monarch.
Although these days the role is largely ceremonial, their duties include serving all aspects of law and order in the county in which they serve during their year in office.