TRANSPORT company boss Peter Cook has added an extra duty to his busy workload for the next year.

Last month he was selected to serve as High Sheriff of the county, a now-ceremonial post which dates back more than 1,000 years

In keeping with tradition, his name was selected from a shortlist last month. He was sworn into the post in a ceremony presided over by resident Judge Richard Lowden at Durham Crown Court this week.

In the audience were his wife, Jayne, sons Colin, 23, Alexander 21, and Philip, 18, although eight-year-old daughter Miranda was unable to attend.

Mr Cook, 49, of Broomshields Hall, Satley, is the founder of a transport company bearing his name, which started 20 years ago with three trucks and a handful of drivers in Durham.

His fleet has now expanded to 60 vehicles operating from a large depot on the Belmont Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the city.

Mr Cook, who will be backed by chaplain Canon Adrian Dauber during his shrieval year, will welcome visiting members of the judiciary to the county over the next 12 months.

He is also looking forward to working with the probation service and victim support schemes in the county, as well as Durham Agency Against Crime, helping crime-prevention and awareness projects.

"I'm following the lead of my immediate predecessors in that, on top of the normal requirements of High Sheriff, I'll try to play a part in crime prevention and victim support in the county.

"It's a good opportunity to put something into that and into the community in general."