British Empire Medal Ceremony at The Monastery

Dec 5, 2018
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Category: General

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Paul Griffiths, presented The British Empire Medal (BEM) to 2 recipients in a ceremony at The Monastery, Gorton, on the 5th December 2018. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant said " I am delighted to represent Her Majesty The Queen, presenting on her behalf, the British Empire Medal to two such worthy recipients”

The Mayors from both the recipients' home towns, Councillors Walter Brett and Tom Ross also attended the ceremony, speaking very highly of both.

The BEM is awarded for meritous civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown and was established in 1922. In 1993 it lay in abeyance in the UK until it was once again issued in 2012, to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Whilst receiving their medals a brief description of why each were nominated was read to the audience of family and friends.

 

MAUREEN REILLY (Trafford Borough)

 Maureen has been the voluntary Chairperson of Lostock Community Partnership and Friends of Lostock Park, for more than a decade. The area was one of the most deprived areas in Trafford and, triggered by the closure of health services, the partnership was formed in 2002. It was awarded £409,000 from the Fairshare Lottery Scheme to help improve the area and in consultation with stakeholders, Maureen led the partnership's drive, through a 10-year strategic regeneration plan.

The former Library was renovated as a joint project with Trafford Council and is now a permanent base for the local scout group and available for other community groups.

Youth nuisance and relationships between younger and older generations was a problem. Maureen engaged with young people leading to the formation of Lostock Youth Forum, a major driver for intergenerational projects at the youth centre. This broke down social barriers and led to a reduction in youth crime and annoyance.

Her commitment to them was further demonstrated with the transformation of Lostock Park. She consulted at length with young people about what facilities were needed, involving them in the design of a now very popular skate bowl and enclosed play area. Maureen visited regularly and arranged training to use the skate bowl safely and organised competitions, which amongst other activities, have raised the young people's confidence and self-esteem.

Austerity measures proposed the closure of the local youth centre. Maureen led a long running campaign to ensure that the youth centre remained open and was successful in securing funding, safeguarding the provision of youth services and a base for other community groups. Her tireless lobbying has seen the opening of a health centre, dentist and retention of the library in the local college.

Maureen is an inspirational leader of the partnership who has made the community a better and safer place to live and work.

 

DEBRA ELIZABETH SMITH (Stockport Borough)

 Debbie is a hugely experienced nurse specialising in the care of cancer patients. During her extensive career she has been a Marie Curie Nurse and ran a palliative care cancer ward. Her many years of experience have enabled her to bring compassion, knowledge and leadership to her role as Macmillan Information and Support Centre Manager at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust. Her stewardship of the Centre has seen it expand the range of services and double the footfall since she came into post; a testament to the outstanding support she gives to her staff, colleagues, patients and their families. In 2010 The centre was awarded the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark and in 2015 was named the Trust’s outstanding achievement award winner for exceptional patient care and service. Debbie was awarded the 2015 Macmillan Professional Excellence Awards’ Henry Garnett Award and the centre was runner up for Personalisation of Care and a finalist for Patient Experience.

Debbie has set up a unique social networking group, Macmillan Connections, which enables those who have had cancer treatment to register and ‘connect’ to others with shared interests. Over 25 organisations have joined providing help to people to access their facilities. She also introduced the Macmillan HOPE (Help to Overcome Problems Effectively) course at the Centre which cancer patients are considerably benefitting from. She is an active member of the Public and Patient Advisory Group which links into the South Manchester CCG where she listens to local and regional population needs and promotes the service provision.

In her spare time, Debbie works with other centres helping raise awareness of living with and surviving cancer. She trained to become a Grief Recovery Method Facilitator improving quality of care to people dealing with grief. In addition to this she continues to facilitate and organise fundraising events and has raised more than £65k for the Centre.

Debbie is completely dedicated to supporting those that have been affected by cancer and has had a huge positive impact on the community.

 

The Lieutenancy would like to thank The Monastery for their assistance in arranging the ceremony, for the use of the fantastic facilities and to the Worshipful Mayors of Trafford and Stockport for attending the event.