Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Warren J. Smith, presented The British Empire Medal (BEM) to 9 recipients in a ceremony at Oldham Town Hall on 16th April 2019.
The Mayors from all the recipients’ home towns also attended the ceremony.
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.
The Lord-Lieutenant said “Today I am particularly privileged to represent Her Majesty The Queen, presenting on her behalf, the British Empire Medal. The award reflects that there are so many people who are prepared to go the extra mile to support the communities in which they live or work. Today’s Medal recipients are true representatives of those who dedicate themselves to the communities of Greater Manchester.”
Whilst receiving their medals a brief description of why each were nominated was read to the audience.
For over 30 years Ida has contributed to the life and welfare of the people of Oldham. She retired in the 1980s and decided to join a walking club but the local club was not accepting new members.
Undeterred, in 1986 she started the Wednesday Walkers Club for other likeminded people. As founder she organised and led all the walks for the first 9 years. This enabled the early members, who had no map reading skills and little knowledge of the local footpaths to safely enjoy being outdoors and making new friends. From just one weekly walk there are now four walks of various lengths and an additional ‘amblers walk’ running from spring to autumn.
Under her leadership the club, which started with 10 members has now grown to over 230, nearly all of whom are retirees. It is not just a walking club; she has created a social and learning environment as it also organises regular events including lunches, trips away and courses on first aid, Heartstart, Leadership Skills, Compass and Map Reading and also offers Pastoral Care. Any excess funds raised are donated annually to various related charities such as the air ambulance, RNLI and mountain rescue.
Ida goes above and beyond the call of duty as the founder of the club. She regularly checks on the welfare of members contacting them should they be unable to join a walk. She is an inspirational volunteer and heartbeat of the club.
Dorothy is an active member of the Rochdale community. Her chosen career was teaching, eventually becoming Headteacher at the All Souls C of E Primary School. During that time she influenced the lives of many of her pupils, especially those in need. The school was an old run-down Victorian building and she campaigned tirelessly for a modern fit for purpose building then planned and led the entire move, whilst continuing to teach. The new school opened in 1990 with an official opening by the Duchess of Gloucester in 1991. Whilst there Dorothy became involved with Rochdale Childer, a charity that helps relieve the effects of child poverty.
Retiring from teaching in the early 90’s she continues to fundraise for the charity. She is fully involved in all aspects of their work, assisting in preparing and running fund raising events for organisations such as St Vincent De Pauls family service workers and the Rochdale Youth Orchestra. She also frequently turns up on the doorsteps of families in hardship, delivering items such as bedding, clothes and Christmas presents, often at her own expense.
She is an extremely valued member of the committee and actively promotes the Rochdale Childer Award, where schools award the most deserving child each year.
Dorothy is also an active committee member for The Rochdale Ancient Parish Educational Trust, a charity that provides assistance for local young people.
Never failing in her support Dorothy is an incredible asset to the young people of Rochdale.
Kate was the Head of the Executive Office at Manchester City Council at the time of the Arena bomb. She had no role in emergency planning or response yet proactively took responsibility and made things happen when it was most needed. Whilst many Council staff worked on the vigil, memorial and anniversary events without Kate’s drive, leadership and persistence they simply would not have happened.
She brought together Council staff to organise the vigil for the following day and did not go home or sleep for at least 24hrs. Everything required for the vigil was arranged by Kate at a time when Council staff, partners and the community were all in shock.
Over the coming months whilst she supported the creation of the Memorials Advisory Group. Once again, she was the “behind the scenes” leader who organised the effective consultation process bringing the 22 bereaved families from across the country and experts to support them.
Finally she was responsible for the overall organisation of the one year anniversary. She recognised that many people may not want to return to the city, or may not be able to and organised the commemoration service to be live streamed in York Minster, Glasgow Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Her work ensured that the service was appropriate for all faiths and none. Kate also ensured private viewings for the families of the archive, coordinated the bell ringing at 10.31pm exactly one year after the blast and coordinated the ‘Manchester Together: with one voice’ event.
Kate was an unsung heroine central to Manchester’s recovery.
LEWIS THOMAS BROWN
Lewis is a Police Community Support Officer and was on patrol at Manchester Victoria station, adjacent to the Manchester Arena, during the evening on 22 May 2017. On that date he had just 6 weeks service as a PCSO. When the explosion occurred he immediately ran towards the explosion without knowing the cause or what danger was present. Along with 3 colleagues they were the first officers on scene. People were running past him in panic, screaming, crying, with many injured and covered in blood. He entered the foyer within one minute of the explosion and was faced with a scene of utter devastation.
Lewis knew then that a bomb had exploded but despite his short length of service and immediate danger his instinct was to save lives and help people and he ran into the site of the explosion to help others. He exemplified exceptional resilience in assisting the severely injured and the dying whilst working under intense pressure in a hostile and extremely distressing environment. During the course of the evening he provided support and comfort to many of the survivors and made every effort to protect the dignity of the deceased and injured by using makeshift robes to cover them. He then helped carry casualties downstairs to a triage area so they could be treated by paramedics. In the greatest traditions of the police service, Lewis put the safety and wellbeing of members of the public well ahead of any concerns of his own safety.
DR. ANTHONY GRIFFIN
Anthony is a fantastic ambassador for the promotion of sport, particularly for disabled people. He set two world records at the 1984 New York Paralympic Games in Javelin and Indian Club and still holds the world record for the Indian Club throw. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he won a total of 38 international medals.
His contribution and dedication to disabled sport for the UK is unquestionable. He is a role model for many young people with disabilities visiting schools around the country giving talks and presentations about his career, inspiring them to achieve despite their disabilities.
He is a patron of the Bolton Society for Blind People, promoting their service and assisting their fundraising efforts. He assists at each Bolton Mayor’s charity events helping to boost their charitable funds. He actively promotes Fairtrade products helping farmers and farm workers in some of the poorest countries in the world; earn a decent wage whilst promoting Bolton as a Fairtrade town.
He was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Bolton Sports Awards in 2006 and in 2010 his face was added to the Bolton Council ‘Spirit of Sport’ statue which stands outside of Bolton Wanderer’s football stadium. He showcased the training equipment at the opening of the Bolton One’ health and sports facility when opened by The Princess Royal in 2013 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for his Sporting and Community achievements by the University of Bolton in 2015.
Anthony is an absolutely inspirational Sport’s Ambassador.
DAVID HEDLEY JOHNSON
David founded ‘Oldham Theatre’ in 1968, offering young people in the North West of England free access to his drama workshops. Notably, this was at a time and climate when communities were devoid of any similar experiences. In the subsequent years, he earned national and international recognition for his teaching methods producing generations of actors to noteworthy acclaim within our British theatres and TV screens.
He was a pioneer when he set up ‘The Oldham Theatre Workshop’, the largest of its kind in the North West. It was the first theatre to provide free entry to afford the local youth the experience of drama at no cost. He developed this to become Europe’s largest Young People’s Theatre Company tirelessly providing his personal services and access to the workshop for 50 weeks of the year. Each year he put together a minimum of five major fully-staged productions, with casts ranging from 40-600, playing locally and throughout Britain.
It is rare that young people from lower social-economic background and with no level of acting ability are able to attend a scheme like the Oldham Theatre workshop for free, thus it is because of him that so many went on to showcase their talent on British TV. He is the only Young People’s Theatre Director to have had three specialised documentary features devoted to his work, and this is credit to his outstanding work, promoting the talent and supporting young people over many decades.
SUSAN JANE LOMAS
Susan has been at the forefront of supporting Beaver Scout Colonies since they were established in 1983 and has been vital in sustaining engagement among young people with the organisation in the Prestwich area. She became a voluntary leader of the Beaver Scout Colony in Prestwich shortly after it was formed in 1983 and has continued to act as a leader ever since.
During decades of service she particularly stepped up when other voluntary leaders were absent, keeping the youth programmes running, constantly devoting extra hours of her time. She has shown great determination in ensuring activities are varied, inclusive and designed to strengthen the confidence of young people, ranging from outdoor play to demonstrations from local police, fire brigade or guide dogs associations and day trips for pantomime visits for up to 200 people. In addition to this she supports the association with administrative tasks and necessary paperwork on two evenings a week, which has been crucial for maintaining the club.
Waiting lists to join the group continuing to remain high, and through her interpersonal skills and care she has also encouraged many parents to support the local Scouting association in the capacity of assistants, particularly helping to fill gaps at a time when many leaders had left their roles. In 2000 she was recognised by the Scouts with a Medal of Merit.
She is a figurehead of the community, with no other Scouting leader in the area offering her level of support, management and commitment.
JON PAUL MORREY
Throughout his working life Jon has evidenced a very clear determination and dedication to serving the public. He served in the Royal Navy and during his 22 years’ service he was deployed to many parts of the world during extremely troubled times. Subsequently as a Police Community Support Officer he has carried out his role with a focus on helping the general public, victims of crime and the vulnerable in our society. The level of service he has provided to the public ranged from his response to the terrorist attack at Manchester to providing reassurance to the travelling public or helping the infirm or elderly as they travel on the rail, network.
On the night of the terrorist attack he was tutoring a newly deployed PCSO, a role he relished, helping those new in service to develop in knowledge and confidence. He was on patrol at Manchester Victoria station, which is directly adjacent to the Arena, when the explosion occurred. He immediately ran towards it without knowing the cause or what danger was present. He entered the foyer within one minute of the explosion and was faced with a scene of utter devastation. Despite the immediate danger his instinct was to save lives and help people. He exemplified exceptional resilience by assisting the severely injured and the dying whilst working under intense pressure in a hostile and extremely distressing environment.
Throughout his careers in the services Jon has shown great bravery and compassion.
Jared is an exemplary Special Police Sergeant and a winner of a Greater Manchester Police Citizens In Policing Award recognising his incredible commitment. Along with 10 personal arrests, he contributed 572 hours of voluntary policing to an operation targeting organised criminality in Oldham leading to a substantial number of cash, drug and vehicle seizures. He has also made a significant contribution to the reduction of crime and disorder associated with the night time economy providing much needed support to licensees and Pub Watch. He contributes a huge number of voluntary policing hours yearly and has an exceptional arrest rate.
On 22nd May 2017, he was off duty in Manchester when the Arena bomb exploded. He hurried to the scene and assisted a paramedic treating a victim suffering from horrific injuries; she survived. He then provided first aid and comfort to a number of victims, playing songs on a mobile phone to reassure one victim asking her to sing with him to prevent her slipping into unconsciousness. When enough paramedics were at the scene he went to nearby premises bringing back as many bottles of water that he could carry for those who needed it. He showed absolute focus and dedication remaining throughout the night. The following morning he paraded for duty assisting the reception team at the mortuary, whilst co-ordinating the duties for his team throughout a 16 hour shift.
Jared is a brave, compassionate and committed volunteer respected by all who work with him.
During the service the recipients and guests were entertained by The Youth Brass Band from Oldham Council Music Service. They played a selection of music superbly before and after the investiture ceremony and the National Anthem after the arrival of The Lord-Lieutenant and the Worshipful Mayors of each borough. They really helped to mark the occasion.