• 13/03/2020

We are delighted to announce that Eamonn O’Neal, MC at the Manchester Legal Awards for a number of years, a great friend to Manchester Law Society and chief executive of St Ann’s Hospice has been chosen by the Queen as the next High Sheriff of Greater Manchester.

The appointment was formally announced by Buckingham Palace earlier this week and he will take up his ceremonial role next month.

The father-of-three, from Sale, has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester for six years.

He will be installed as High Sheriff at The Monastery, Manchester, on Friday, April 17, succeeding Mark Adlestone OBE DL whose term of office ends that day.

O’Neal, who will hold office for 12 months, is currently Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, based in Stockport and Salford. Previously he  was managing editor and columnist at the Manchester Evening News for eight years following a successful career at Granada television and BBC radio.  He can still be heard on-air at BBC Radio Manchester, as its longest-serving presenter.

He said: “It’s a huge honour and quite humbling to be chosen as High Sheriff of Greater Manchester.  I’m grateful to have the chance to connect and engage with the charitable, voluntary, faith, ethnic, cultural and business communities across the county.”

The role Office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular title in British history and among the most ancient in the world, dating back more than 1,300 years.

At that time the Sheriff represented the monarch, collected taxes, raised armies and was the rule of law across the county.

O’Neal said: “I won’t be collecting taxes, or raising an army, but as High Sheriff I’ll be proud to represent the Queen as the ceremonial head of the judiciary in the county.

“I also regard this Royal appointment as recognition of the great work done by St Ann’s Hospice in looking after the communities of Greater Manchester for many years.

“St Ann’s is one of the oldest and largest hospices in the country and we’re about to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

“I’ll be dedicating the High Sheriff appointment to our patients, staff, families and volunteers, and the other charities I work with.”

O’Neal is also a trustee of The Dianne Oxberry Trust and The Diocese of Salford.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree by the University of Bolton in 2015 in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the media and charity.’