AFTER 16 years of service, Harwich’s Chris Strachan has retired from his role as High Steward, the highest ceremonial post in the town.

In 2007, Chris Strachan was invested as High Steward – an honorary and life-long title bestowed by councils, towns, and cities – following the death of Bill Bleakley who was High Steward for more than 25 years.

Mr Strachan explained how much he had enjoyed the role, which including dressing up in ceremonial wear for a variety of events spread throughout the year.

He said: “Once I got to 80-plus, I felt it would be a good move for me to retire and for a younger person to step in.”

There are fewer than 20 areas which both have and choose to exercise the right of having a High Steward, with Gloucester and Congleton being in ‘abeyance’ and Chichester and Tamworth being vacant.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Honorary - High Steward Chris Strachan Honorary - High Steward Chris Strachan (Image: Maria Fowler)

Harwich has had life-long High Stewards since 1604 when James I of England and Scotland gave Harwich a new charter making it a free town.

Harwich has had 416 mayors since 1604, but only about 30 High Stewards, making it an esteemed group.

Mr Strachan said he was born in Aberdeen and grew up in the historic county of Banffshire before being inspired by medicine.

As a newly qualified doctor, he spent 18 in South America in a “place where there were barely any roads” which further brought him to develop the rare skill set of being a dual doctor and surgeon.

Mr Strachan and his wife Celia both had friends and family in the Harwich area.

 “Having gone to see Harwich, I was very taken by it," he said.

Mr Strachan said living, working, and having children in Harwich with Celia who was also a full-time nurse in London, meant he felt part of and cared about the town.

Mr Strachan also became a community stalwart through his work as the founding trustee of the Harwich Electric Palace Theatre, the location of his investiture as High Steward in 2007.