The High Sheriff of Shropshire has paid a visit to Shrewsbury to see first-hand how shops and businesses are bouncing back following the coronavirus lockdown.

Mrs Dean Harris was hosted by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Phil Gillam, and Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, who gave her a tour of the town centre.

They met business owners and visited a range of shops, as well as seeing the measures put in place to ensure the town is safe and welcoming for people to visit.

Starting at The Parade Shopping Centre and taking in the new Evolution Park, created by Shropshire Festivals in partnership with Shrewsbury BID, the group were given a tour of The Parade by proprietor, Philip Freeman, before heading to Wyle Cop and High Street, via the Museum and Shropshire Cycle Hub, a new charity improving access to healthy sustainable transport, finishing at Victoria Quay.

The High Sheriff and Mayor talking to Gaynor Jones at Vinterior.

Gaynor Jones of Vinterior chats with the High Sheriff and Mayor.

Seb Slater, of Shrewsbury BID, said: “We were delighted to welcome the High Sheriff to Shrewsbury so the Mayor and I could show her how well the town is adapting in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

“As well as seeing public areas, such as Evolution Park and the pedestrian-friendly High Street, we were keen to take the High Sheriff into a variety of shops so she could discuss the situation directly with business owners.

“We visited The Parade, Vinterior and Wyle Blue World on Wyle Cop, Prego in The Square, and The Riverbank in Victoria Quay, and spoke to a lot of people during the tour.

“It was great to hear business owners talking about their experiences and how they were adapting to thrive, such as Belinda at Wyle Blue World who has created a stunning outdoor restaurant in the garden behind the shop.”

High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mrs Dean Harris, said she found the visit to Shrewsbury both enjoyable and enlightening.

“I am really keen to visit as much of Shropshire as I can during my time in office, both to help people understand more about my role, and to raise awareness of the fantastic work taking place around the county,” she said.

“It was really interesting to speak with so many people in Shrewsbury about the challenges businesses have faced, and continue to face, during the Covid-19 crisis.

“But what was inspiring was seeing how positive people are, and the amazing way that businesses have pulled together.

“It was also wonderful to see how businesses are thinking outside the box, such as the amazing secret garden behind Wyle Blue World – a fantastic example of someone finding creative solutions to challenging times.”

High Sheriff, Mayor and Belinda Griffiths at Wyle Blue World

The High Sheriff and Mayor being shown the secret garden behind Wyle Blue World by proprietor, Belinda Griffths.

Gaynor Jones, owner of Vinterior at the top of Wyle Cop, gave the High Sheriff a tour of her shop and said the town centre had a wonderful feeling at the moment.

“Things have been difficult but the atmosphere is really great in the town now,” she added. “Removing the traffic from High Street during the day has made a big difference. We have a lot more people walking past the shop now, and footfall is increasing each week.”

Mark Fermor, of the Shropshire Cycle Hub, said: “We were delighted to welcome the High Sheriff and Mayor to the Hub, where they met volunteers and discussed the important work being done to serve the community and encourage more people to take up cycling.

“Their visit was topped off by having a ride around the Hub circuit on some of the finished products. Simply brilliant!”

For more pictures and information about Dean’s visits and projects, search High Sheriff of Shropshire on Facebook and Instagram. She is also running the High Sheriff Awards to honour unsung heroes who support their community in any way – nominations can be made at www.highsheriffofshropshire.co.uk