High Sheriff of West Sussex: Dr Tim Fooks launches West Sussex in the Covid-19 Pandemic book after a year like no other

West Sussex GP Dr Tim Fooks was a High Sheriff like no other, in a year like no other, and to mark this moment in history, he has launched a book recording the impact of the pandemic in our county.
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Dr Fooks was the first medical High Sheriff in West Sussex and the only medical High Sheriff in the country during the Covid-19 crisis. He had a unique perspective on the effects of the virus, not only for those who caught it but in the community.

WEST SUSSEX IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – A year like no other by Tim Fooks, High Sheriff of West Sussex 2020-21 is available for £18.99, with all proceeds being donated to the Sussex Crisis Fund.

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Neil Hart, High Sheriff of West Sussex 2021, announced the launch of the book on Friday.

Dr Tim Fooks, former High Sheriff of West Sussex, with his book, WEST SUSSEX IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – A year like no other. Picture: Steve Robards SR2108063Dr Tim Fooks, former High Sheriff of West Sussex, with his book, WEST SUSSEX IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – A year like no other. Picture: Steve Robards SR2108063
Dr Tim Fooks, former High Sheriff of West Sussex, with his book, WEST SUSSEX IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – A year like no other. Picture: Steve Robards SR2108063

He said: “Not only does Tim’s book provide a very significant, if not the first, record of the impact of the pandemic in West Sussex, it is also a unique celebration of the remarkable people who work within it for the benefit of others.

“The result is a very attractive and informative book, the proceeds from which Tim will be passing on to the much-needed Sussex Crisis Fund run by the Sussex Community Foundation. For all these reasons, the more copies sold the better and I would like to strongly recommend it to you.”

Dr Fooks’ term as High Sheriff began with the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 and, having just retired, he combined the role with returning to work as a doctor to support the NHS during the pandemic.

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Mr Hart said: “Throughout his year in office, he travelled West Sussex, in person or by Zoom, meeting volunteers, public sector employees, charity workers and others, listening to their stories and learning how they were helping their neighbours through the crisis.”

Each week, Dr Fooks wrote a briefing for this newspaper and the other West Sussex titles published by JPI Media, describing the work of these remarkable people, and he has now published these 50 briefings with additional contributions from key leaders in the county, including a foreword by Susan Pyper, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex.

This unique record of a county facing one of the greatest crises since the Second World War contains more than 160 images and photographs.

Dr Fooks said: “It describes inspirational and uplifting human endeavours to meet the needs of the vulnerable and to keep ‘normal life’ going during very abnormal times – acts of service and compassion which should never be forgotten.

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“It was a great honour to be asked to be High Sheriff and to be the first medical High Sheriff ever for West Sussex but none of us could have predicted that we were, as I started, beginning also an absolute health crisis.

“I realised rapidly that this was going to be a completely different year to the one I was expecting. I had to invent a new way to be High Sheriff, the purpose of which is to support and uphold all the really important parts of our constitution, not only those involved in law and order but also those involved in making our communities safe, resilient and compassionate places to be.

“To be able to write about what they were achieving in this incredible year was amazing, and it was so encouraging for all the organisations and people I wrote about, to have that awareness. That is what people want, for others to know what they are doing selflessly and to highlight the people who are vulnerable.

“The 50 articles are statements of instinctive compassion, as the Queen spoke of in her broadcast. It was heartwarming to witness and I didn’t want that to be lost.

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“It is a really, really unpleasant disease. There has been a randomness about how Covid has affected us and that has been something that has been so unsettling about it. It has also shown us how vulnerable people are.

“I don’t want us to forget all that has been achieved and I hope it will remind people of why a role like High Sheriff is still important and relevant in this country.”

The book and has been produced with the support of Neil Hart DL, the current High Sheriff, and our West Sussex newspapers. All proceeds will be going to the Sussex Crisis Fund that has been established by the Sussex Community Foundation to support the voluntary sector while these organisations continue to face very challenging times.

To order a signed copy of the book, email [email protected] with your name and postal address. The cost is £18.99 plus £3.50 if postage is required. Alternatively, the book is available from the independent bookshops in Petworth, Arundel, Steyning and East Grinstead, and also from Post Office Stores in West Chiltington.