People across Dorset are being urged to honour ‘ordinary’ friends and neighbours who do extraordinary things by nominating them for a new national award.
The British Citizen Awards (BCA) recognises exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact upon society. Successfully launched in January this year, almost 60 people have been honoured so far at two prestigious ceremonies hosted by Baroness Wilcox at the Palace of Westminster.
Previous medallists include diabetes suffer Shane Board, from Poole, who devotes his time to raising awareness about the illness and raising funds to help find a cure; Rev Christopher College, from Bournemouth, who has tirelessly served his local community despite his own health problems; Chantal Lockey, also from Bournemouth, who was honoured for the work she has carried out around infant loss and bereavement counselling; and 86-year-old George Geraghty, of Halstock, near Yeovil, who was given the award for his dedication to his Pot Luck Lunch scheme.
Nominations are currently being accepted for the next round of medal presentations, which will take place in January 2016, again at the Palace of Westminster. All BCA recipients receive a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medallists are also invited to use the initials BCA after their name.
The British Citizen Awards were launched to honour the incredible accomplishments of individuals in society who positively impact their communities. In a similar way to the Queen’s Honours, BCAs are awarded twice annually. But unlike the traditional Honours, which are often given to celebrities and high-profile figures, BCAs are given to ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
Those receiving medals on July 9 spanned the generations, with the youngest, Patsy Elliott, aged just 16 and the oldest attending the ceremony, Maureen Brass – who will celebrate her 100th birthday later this month. Patsy was honoured after overcoming several years of bullying to go on to raising money for the charity that helped change her life. Miss Brass’ dedication to nurturing musical talent in young children for more than 40 years saw her receive her award.
Mike Faulkner, co-founder of the awards, said, “Our award ceremonies in January and July were a phenomenal success, with recipients ranging in age from 16 to 100 years old. It was fantastic to give BCAs to individuals who were simply remarkable human beings. We look forward to honouring more exceptional people within our communities during this next round of awards.”
Nominations from all corners of the UK, all cultural backgrounds and from all sectors of the community are being welcomed until the closing deadline on 30 October 2015.
Mike added, “There are literally thousands of people across the UK making life better for others, and until now with no formal recognition open to them.
“This programme, which many see as an alternative Honours system, has been created to enable every individual across the country to nominate someone who they feel deserves to be recognised. We have nothing but respect for the Honours system but believe that a more accessible recognition programme is long overdue.”
The awards have attracted support from several high-profile ambassadors, including Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, actress and former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella, and former high-court judge, Dame Linda Dobbs DBE.
Sarah, Duchess of York said, “The greatest kindness you can afford to give someone is to listen and it is with great pleasure that I have found the British Citizen Awards. This organisation listens to the citizens of this great country and not only hears their stories but rewards monumental efforts that would have otherwise gone relatively unnoticed.”
The awards are supported by the world’s largest optical retailer, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; palletised freight company, Pall-Ex; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; and not-for-profit health and well-being services provider, Benenden – who will each have representatives at the awards ceremony.
Specsavers co-founder Dame Mary Perkins, who is also a BCA patron, said: ‘Specsavers firmly believes in giving back to those communities we serve, just as these celebrated people do. These awards recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked. Their tireless work makes a huge impact on society. To play a part in their celebration, as the awards’ patron, is a great honour.’
Nominations are free and people can be entered into one of eight different categories. All nominations will be scrutinised by an independent committee, with their choices passed on to an assessment panel for final ratification. Up to thirty nominees will then be shortlisted to receive an award.
To nominate, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a nomination form, or visit www.britishcitizenawards.co.uk to find out more. Nominations close on 30 October 2015.