Investiture Ceremony May 2022

May 31, 2022
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Category: General

In a ceremony at The Monastery, Manchester, on the 31st May 2022, 11 Honour's Recipients received their medals from The Lord-Lieutenant. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant and High Sheriff and all the Mayors from the recipients’ home boroughs were also in attendance to help and to congratulate all the recipients.

There were 10 recipients of the British Empire Medal and 1 Companion of the Order of Bath who attended with friends and family to celebrate their fantastic achievements in the wonderful setting of the Great Nave at The Monastery, Manchester .

The recipients and their guests from across Greater Manchester listened to the citations which were read out by the Vice Lord Lieutenant and broke into applause as each of the stories were revealed and each walked forward to receive their medals from the Lord-Lieutenant. Photographs from the event can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/oBqiEs8RWkjeKNMq6

 The Recipients were as follows:

Cornel GRANT BEM

Cornel is an exceptional member of Stagecoach Manchester with 40 years’ service. After serving in the Royal Fusiliers, he began work at Princess Road Depot in Moss Side in 1982.

From driving buses to dressing up, he has always been willing to help with activities and fundraising for Stagecoach Manchester’s charity partners, including in recent years, Prevent Breast Cancer, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity and Forever Manchester. As a result, he has helped to raise over £50,000. He helps with co-ordinating the Parklife Festival operation and assists with Remembrance Services at the Sharston Depot. In 2012 he was selected to help support the UK Olympic Torch Relay and torch bearers. This high-profile role involved planning the routes and settling the torch bearers into their roles on a very tight operational schedule. In 2017 his work was recognised nationally by Stagecoach when he received the Silver Community Champion award.

Personally, he assists the Message Trust (a Christian Charity working to improve the lives of young people). He has also been influential in bringing communities together. In the 1970s and 1980s he was actively involved in setting up the Moss Side Carnival and was heavily involved in the Anglo/Caribbean Dominoes Championships bringing people from across the country together with communities from his homeland.

Cornel is a true community champion who has undoubtedly helped make Manchester a better place.

Damieon HARTLEY-PICKLES BEM

Damieon is an exceptional Police Officer and outstanding human being, who has combined his remarkable community policing work with his passion for raising funds for charity.

Following a career as a semi-professional rugby player he has now served in the police for 20 years. Whilst a Neighbourhood Beat Officer for St. Mary's in Oldham, an area blighted with anti-social behaviour by young people, he used an engagement and partnership strategy to combat this, approaching the Youth Zone, Mahdlo. He organised a budget to pay for sessions to encourage those involved to attend. He got involved in the activities, breaking down barriers whilst educating them on caring for their neighbourhood and the results were phenomenal. It made the community feel safer, helped improve school attendance and isolated ring leaders. As a result, his team won a GMP Star Award for Neighbourhood Policing and a Star Award from Mahdlo for 'Working in partnership'.

Known as 'BarrowthonMan' after a series of runs for charity with his wheelbarrow he has raised over £50,000 for charities through events such as a 13-hour, seven-a-side touch rugby match, an Everest Base Camp Climb and over 60, 10ks, half marathons and marathons. He also ran around his back garden over 4,800 times with his wheelbarrow during lockdown raising funds for the NHS and Mahdlo when all races were cancelled.

Damieon is an inspirational example of going above and beyond.

JASON PETER MELIA BEM

Jason spent 28 years working in the British Council, joining a small and newly formed security team in 2008. Since then, he has responded to many critical incidents, usually out of hours, ensuring that the right resources were deployed, situations were brought under control and people at risk were made safe.

During Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world, He played a critical part in providing intelligence and security advice to the Crisis Management Teams, under severe pressure and in challenging circumstances. His role was critical in Libya overseeing the evacuation of 13 colleagues trapped in Benghazi, securing their safe withdrawal on HMS Cumberland and then travelled to Malta to receive them, arranging for safe onward transit to the UK.

Arab Spring was followed by an attack on the British Council compound in Kabul, with the loss of 11 persons, followed by the Fukushima Tsunami, where colleagues and the mission were at risk and there was an urgent need for information, reassurance, and action. In both these incidents Jason, as always, stepped up providing all the support needed.

The final significant incidents in his British Council career were the Sri Lanka Easter bombing of 2019 and the COVID 19 Pandemic. Jason was both the Security Adviser for South Asia and 'on call' when the bombing happened. Jason immediately shelved his family Easter plans and was involved in all the Incident Management Teams, supporting staff and the operation through a very difficult moment.
When Covid-19 gathered pace, Jason was pivotal in the early response in East Asia and then supported the Global Network Team working on the withdrawal of UK appointed staff, based overseas and the closing of offices globally.

Jason has had an incredible and exceptional career where he selflessly gave his time to support others to get through the toughest moments.

Kathryn SMITH BEM

At the outbreak of the Pandemic, Kathryn created a community group called 'Your Sewing Machine Needs You', with the aim to make scrub bags for NHS staff to use to reduce the risk of contamination. It rapidly became clear that many health care staff were struggling with limited access to PPE, and so she mobilised over 450 members to make scrubs and face masks for hospitals and care homes. This group was also completely inclusive, providing many older and vulnerable people, who were shielding, a much-needed lifeline and gave a sense of purpose and structure to their days.

Kathryn co-ordinated the group and used her own home as a warehouse for deliveries to and from. Each evening she would make kits, label them and package them for delivery.
Another initiative she started was to create a pair of knitted hearts, one for patients and one for their families. This created a symbol of hope for families and became a physical sentiment for families to share when they were apart.

Kathryn organised this whilst caring for her terminally ill mother, whose usual care staff had been severely reduced meaning she and her daughter took on a bigger role in her care. To manage all this, she closed her interiors business.

Kathryn selflessly provided a much-needed valuable support to the NHS at the time of its greatest need.

Wendy Anne HARDAKER CB

Wendy is an inspirational public servant, recognised in the UK's Legal 500 GC Powerlist 2020 and receiving a Civil Service Leadership Award. She brought together lawyers from 7 teams, in 9 national locations, to create the Commercial Law Group within the Governments Legal Department which she leads with absolute commitment and enthusiasm. The Law Group provides commercial legal advice to support the Government’s £50bn per annum spend on contracts, from critical infrastructure to citizen services such as Universal Credit.

The Group supported matters of national importance, such as the EU Exit and was key to the commercial response in UK's fight against Covid 19. Wendy helped deliver more than 8600 contracts against hugely tight timelines, including the £8 billion spent on 32 billion PPE items; the £7 billion spent on Testing and ultimately the £2.9 billion spent on 267 million doses of the Vaccine.

She is innovative, radically overhauling the Government Legal Department’s delivery model, reducing the external law firms from 50 to 18 whilst modernising relationships to create a common approach rather than disparate working. She champions inclusion and wellbeing within her team which reflects society’s diversity. She invests time in developing and helping all her colleagues, starting a commercial lawyer trainee scheme and she is the Groups’ Carers' Champion; Menopause Champion; and a mentor to many. Wendy achieves this despite challenging personal circumstances.

Kimberley Linda ROGERS BEM AND Charlene Joanne BURNS BEM

Kimberley and Charlene are Directors and Co-Founders of Real Education Empowering Lives or simply Team Reel. With over 20 years' experience of working in the sectors of youth, community and education and from their experience of the personal challenges of a traditional school setting and the barriers they faced with education, they had a vision to set up their own community interest company in Oldham. REEL CIC was founded in 2017, in partnership with The Salvation Army, to encourage others to reach their true potential by providing activities, experiences, personal development and learning to encourage and empower people.

They created women's support and mentoring groups, developed holiday initiatives and intervention projects for families. They also created Positive Parenting Courses, Baby and Toddler Programmes which encompass employability skills and peer support and Meet Cook and Eat, a healthy eating course for families amongst numerous other programmes and initiatives.

During the Pandemic they led the organisation in responding to community needs adapting their work by developing new projects and moving the operation on-line, focussing on people’s mental health and supporting the most vulnerable in the community. From doorstep singalongs, in a bid to tackle loneliness for elderly members of the community, to providing clothing and essential items to those who needed a helping hand during such a difficult time, they have supported thousands of people throughout the Pandemic.

Maxine Carol GRIMSHAW BEM AND Zoe SUTCLIFFE BEM

Maxine, an experienced material pattern cutter and Zoe, a professional costume designer used their expertise and history of fundraising to establish 'Scrubs Hub Bury, Oldham and Rochdale' during the first lockdown of the Covid Pandemic. They recruited and co-ordinated a network of over 220 skilled volunteers to supplement and increase the supply of PPE to both the NHS and the wider care sectors.

Between them, they recruited the Hub's volunteers, who were, 'locked down' in their homes, across three boroughs and created instruction packs for them to meet the specifications and needs of clinical and care workers. They produced the hub's branding and started a crowdfunding campaign to resource the materials, securing over £12,000 from town councils, local businesses and other local communities.

The Hub needed to meet huge demand and responded quickly and over eight crucial weeks, volunteers produced 2,360 sets of 'scrubs' and over 10,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment. They used 'live' on-line broadcasts, providing much needed face to face communication throughout between the volunteers, funders, manufacturers and NHS professionals. The finished scrubs were collected, quality checked, packaged, then delivered to the frontline.

They created a virtual community; an intergenerational group, with wide ranging abilities, united in making a difference which went on to create other products to support the community throughout the pandemic including face coverings and toys.

Maxine and Zoe made a profound positive contribution to the health services and their community during exceptionally dark times.

Mohammed Afruz MIAH BEM

Mohammed has made great efforts to help the people within his community and those suffering in conflict overseas. This quest began when his own poor health motivated him to act. He took up running, taking the opportunity to raise funds for good causes at the same time, ultimately culminating in the creation of his charity JustBreathe.

Recognising how the BAME community was disproportionately affected during the Pandemic, he encouraged the Bangladeshi community in Oldham to join him and improve their level of fitness, both physically and mentally. He developed culturally sensitive, fitness courses and set up three running clubs catering to all: a women's only group, a daytime group and uniquely, a group that meets after midnight so that catering staff could participate.

Aware of the many challenges in the community, he undertook fundraising events for the Oldham Foodbank, a local homeless charity, NHS staff and Logan’s Children’s Heart Foundation amongst many others. Some of his awe-inspiring feats have included running from Oldham to London while fasting during Ramadan, running half marathons in eight cities over eight days and recently completing his first London Marathon.

He has also carried out fund raising campaigns for the Global Relief Trust, who work in various countries including Bangladesh and Yemen, with activities such as sky-dives, bake offs, 24hrs walks, mountain climbs and food challenges.

He has been an inspiration both at home and abroad.

Roy William BATE BEM

Without Roy, hundreds of people with dementia and their carers would have suffered in isolation. His wife was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and he joined various nationally run clubs to get help but funding started to disappear. He saw a need for a smaller, self-operated local group and founded Forget-Me-Not-Buddies in Tameside so that people with dementia and their carers could meet for outings and enjoy a quality of life.

In 2017 he acquired premises in Denton creating an additional opportunity for carers and family members to get help and extra support, attend regular workshops delivered by clinicians or just access a listening ear. He arranged for local day care patients to come to the group and as demand grew, ensured the group had strong governance and policies put in place. Now, a registered charity, it has more than 70 members regularly attending.

Roy is also a prolific fundraiser for both the group, raising tens of thousands of pounds to make the charity sustainable, and for the local care home where his wife was treated. During the pandemic, when the club had to close, contact was maintained weekly by phone and social media. Cream Teas were delivered to members, creative care packs delivered to those with dementia and hand sanitisers to all.

Roy is a caring and compassionate man who makes everyone he meets feel part of a large family.

A further recipient, Ibrahim Yousaf, the youngest ever recipientof a BEM in Greater Manchester, who was unable to recieve his medal at the Monastery due to his ill health received it in a Covid Secure personal event at Maggies, Oldham on the 23rd May

Ibrahim Yousaf BEM

Ibrahim is a brave, inspirational and kind-hearted young man who many in his community of Oldham see as a role model. Despite battling with ill health, he decided to help his hospital charity, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, by donating all his birthday money to it to help other sick children. He then decided to use social media to raise awareness of the charity using a Twitter account, monitored by his family due to his young age. He has subsequently gone on to help numerous charities, the majority in Oldham, including here at Maggie’s. He started this campaign with 10 followers but now has over 900 followers.

In addition to raising awareness, he would ask for sponsors of £100 and when charities he supports put out a Tweet, he would ask his followers to Retweet it and if it obtained 100 retweets and likes he would donate the £100 to the charity. However, his goal is not just about the money donated but about raising awareness of the charities so that others also become involved in supporting them and people know how they can be supported by them. Many in the community have said they wouldn’t have known about most of these charities had it not been for his campaign.

The charities he supports in Oldham range from helping cancer sufferers, homeless people, the local youth centre and helping local foodbanks. All have said that he is an inspirational young man.
He is also selfless. On his 13th Birthday his family wanted to do something special, especially with him battling ill health, but he insisted he didn’t want a party or presents and asked for that money to be donated to all the charities he supports. He also donates his pocket money and Eid money to local charities in the community.

He has received many awards locally and nationally including The British Citizen Youth Award but unable to travel to London to receive it, he was very grateful that the organisers came to his school to present the award to him.

Ibrahim is now on 14 lots of medication a day, double of that he was prescribed when he started fundraising, some of which have significant side effects but, despite this, he has continued helping charities and his community.

He is truly an inspirational young man.