Trafford Arms landlord to become Sheriff of Norwich

He's already at the heart of the community as landlord of the Trafford Arms, and now Chris Higgins will be serving the people of Norwich in a different way as he takes up the role as sheriff.

Glasses were raised at the Grove Road pub, near the city centre, as the long-serving landlord was nominated as the next Sheriff of Norwich at Norwich City Council's full council meeting on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old, who has lived in Norwich since 1984 and took over the Trafford Arms nearly two decades ago, will join Labour council Jenny Lay, who was nominated and selected as Lord Mayor of Norwich for 2011/12.

They will follow in the footsteps of current Lord Mayor Tom Dylan, Green city councillor for Mancroft, and Sheriff, the Evening News's features editor Derek James, when their civic year comes to an end next month.

Mr Higgins, who hails from Macclesfield and is married to Glynis, said: 'I'm absolutely delighted; it's a wonderful honour and it's the highlight of my time in Norwich. I love the city, I love the people and it's become my adopted home. I'm very honoured to be invited to be sheriff in a year which features the royal wedding, when Norwich City are playing some of their best football in years and at a time when there is so much vibrancy in Norwich. The city is moving forward and it's going to be a brilliant year.'

Mr Higgins' regulars, however, can rest assured that their landlord will still be seen behind the bar in between fulfilling his civic duties.

'It's not going to change me in any way, I will still be behind the bar, ' added the Norwich City fan.

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Meanwhile, it will be the second time Mrs Lay, who was Sheriff of Norwich in 1998/9, dons civic robes and chains, but this time it will be as Lord Mayor.

The 73-year-old, who lives in Mons Avenue, Thorpe Hamlet, has been a city councillor for many years, first representing Mancroft ward and now a ward councillor for Crome.

'I'm absolutely delighted to be put forward as Lord Mayor for this coming year,' said the married grandmother, who has two children.

'I'm looking forward to doing all the civic duties and I'm so glad that my colleagues on the council have put their trust in me. I think it's going to be a great year.'

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