A Sudanese former surgeon who spent 50 years in the medical profession was sworn in as the county’s new high sheriff in a ceremony in Northampton today.
Doctor Ahmed Mukhtar spent eight years as medical director of Kettering General Hospital during his 30-year career and was officially ‘pricked’ as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire this afternoon, taking over the largely ceremonial role from Anne Burnett.
Dr Mukhtar, who will serve for one year supporting ‘all aspects of law and order’ on behalf of the Queen, appeared 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 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.”
Sudan-born 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.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmed retired from full-time medical practice in 2004.
Since then he has served for a number of years on the governing council of University College Northampton and its successor the University of Northampton; he is an associate examiner of the General Medical Council, and is a Member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
He his also accustomed to fulfilling royal duties, having been commissioned as Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire in 2008.