A doctor who has spent his working life caring for children and ensuring they are kept from harm has pledged to do the same as he is appointed as the High Sheriff of Durham.
Grangetown-born Stephen Cronin will be installed in the position on the steps of Durham Crown Court on Monday, April 9, with the 59-year-old to fill the position for a year.
The Office of High Sheriff is an independent Royal appointment and dates back to the Saxon times, when a Shire Reeve was responsible to the king for law and order and the collection of taxes.
Now the task involves supporting the Crown and judiciary, with a focus on helping crime agencies, emergency services and voluntary organisations, especially as they work to prevent crime.
In his time in the role, Stephen hopes to support the work to reduce offending and reoffending, back projects including Durham Constabulary’s Mini Police and continue effort he has made through his safeguarding role he has held as a doctor.
He said: “Somebody asked me if I was interested in doing it and then a call came, so it was an honour to be asked.
Somebody asked me if I was interested in doing it and then a call came, so it was an honour to be asked.Stephen Cronin
“It’s quite a challenge in terms of a commitment and effectively I’ve done a lot for child protection in Durham and South Tyneside, work around safeguarding and a lot for the police and so I said I would do it because I can do something useful with it.
“I think there are a lot of kids living with challenging circumstances and young people who get into trouble and behave that way because they come from very complicated homes.
“As a society, we have a responsibility to help them live an enjoyable life.”
While Stephen entered a career in medicine, his family is well-known across Wearside through the Edward Thompson Group printing firm, which was led by his late father Frank.
The company is now run by Stephen’s brother Patrick, while their brother Phil runs online bingo firm Tombola and Paul is a consultant physician and lives in Cheshire.
After leaving medical school, Stephen focused on paediatric care, working in intensive care and taking an interest in respiratory care.
His recent roles have included associate director of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and consultant paediatrician and clinical lead for women and children’s services for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
He will retire from his current roles in May, which include being the designated doctor for child protection across County Durham, consultant paediatrician based at the University of North Durham, with interests in obesity, adolescents and constipation and chairing the Durham Active 30 campaign to encourage children to exercise for half an hour a day in school.
Away from work, he is managing director of Shadow Dreams, a theatre and media production company, taking his first theatrical piece to the Edinburgh Festival this summer.
He is also a fitness fanatic, with eight marathons under his belt and plans to complete a half Iron Man, and enjoys travelling.
Stephen is married to Suzanne, an interior designer also from Sunderland and they live in County Durham.
They are parents to Alexander, Sophie and Ben.