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 7th May 2019.
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 today. Their contribution to the communities of Greater Manchester and beyond is fantastic”
The Mayors from both the recipients’ home areas, Councillor Walter Brett from Stockport and Councillor Ronnie Wilson from Salford also attended the ceremony, speaking extremely highly of both. The Mayoress of Salford was also in attendance.
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.
LESLEY ANN WALKER
Lesley first started donating blood 48 years ago and for the last 25 years has also been a platelet donor. During this time she has made more than 1,000 platelet donations to the NHS Blood and Transplant Service. To put this into context very few donors are able to give as many as 300 platelet donations in their lifetime, with a typical platelet donor donating around 75. Platelets, given by generous and committed donors, are often life-saving and special in that they can help up to 3 adults or 12 children.
Platelets can only be stored for a few days and regular and frequent donors are in great demand. For this reason platelet donors are asked to attend at least 8-10 times per year. Lesley’s commitment and determination to donate is incredible and she has sacrificed literally thousands of hours of her life as each session, including travelling time to and from her home took approximately 3 hours.
She donated platelets every two weeks, which she gladly did. To achieve this, she had to keep herself in the best of health and not use any medications which might adversely affect her donation programme. Lesley even chose her holiday times and destinations so that her ability to donate was not impacted. She also made herself available for donation during bank holidays and over Christmas and the New Year when stocks got low. She is no longer able to donate platelets due to the scarring on her veins but continues to donate whole blood regularly.
It is impossible to put a value on the donations that Lesley gives but it is without doubt that her contribution has certainly helped to save and improve many, many lives. Her altruistic commitment to saving lives through donation is extraordinary.
Lesley is pictured with her very proud husband.
TRACEY ELIZABETH WALSH
Tracey is an LGBT champion and without her presence Manchester would not be the liberal, accepting city it is today. In 2014 she was acknowledged by the community at the annual Lesbian Gay Foundation Homo Hero awards where she won the Straight Ally Award.
She has been a member of the Manchester Pride Board since 2014 and has been instrumental to its success. Over the last few years, through events held at her venue, New York New York, she has donated more than £10,000 directly to LGBT and HIV projects. She also supports ‘Sparkle’ the National Transgender Charity which organises the annual ‘Sparkle Weekend’ celebration. She has been the events biggest advocate and has guided the charity from its inaugural weekend in 2005; the event now welcomes over 18000 visitors.
In 2011 Tracey sadly lost her mother. She wanted to do something in recognition of the amazing treatment her mother received at Stepping Hill Hospital. She organised a celebrity auction and raised £4,400 for the ward on which her mother had been looked after. She has held fundraising nights on behalf of ‘The Christie’ Cancer hospital raising over £16,000 for the Y.O.U Paediatric Oncology Fund. In partnership with ITV she hosted a table tennis competition between the stars of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks entitled ‘Great Balls of Soap’. The event was a huge success, raising over £11,000 for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.
She is an absolute inspiration, using her business prowess to help charities and good causes whilst providing a safe place for anyone, who needs somewhere to be themselves, without prejudice.
Tracey is pictured with her grandson who was helping the Vice Lord-Lieutenant carry his sword and lit the place up with his smile.