New scheme in Buckinghamshire to uncover more unsung heroes
PUBLISHED: 11:17 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:17 16 October 2015
At one time or another, most of us have discovered the often lengthy and often behind-the-scenes voluntary work of people who make a difference in our communities.
We tend to think: “You deserve a gong for that,” but nothing actually happens, and the person concerned, usually not the type to publicise their achievements, simply carries on without public recognition.
Now there is a move in Buckinghamshire to uncover more unsung heroes who might be eligible for a national honour, led by Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher. He has set up a county Honours Committee to make sure a broader reach of people who give exceptional service to the community get royal recognition.
They are inviting residents, voluntary groups, community organisations and businesses to put forward people from Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes they consider should be honoured.
Committee Chairman Alexander Boswell said that with around 60,000 volunteers serving in almost 4,000 voluntary and community organisations, he was sure the county had more than its fair share of people who deserve recognition: “Of course, it’s natural to honour celebrities, but there are many people locally who give unstinting service” he says. “We want to see many more people at local level, reflecting the diversity of our communities, getting the recognition they deserve.”
Regional honours have traditionally come in the form of an OBE or MBE, but the committee is encouraging nominations for the British Empire Medal (BEM), recently reinstated by the Queen, for those who have excelled with hands-on work in their local community.
Alexander explains: “Now it’s possible to honour the people who previously slipped under the honours radar. We want to hear from local groups about their unsung heroes; people who have spent their lives working for the good of the community and have brought about change for the benefit of others.’
Earlier this year five Buckinghamshire residents were honoured with the BEM for their outstanding voluntary community work: Mrs Margaret Dykes and Mr Tony Hoare, of Chalfont St Giles, Mrs Valerie McPherson, of Longwick, Mrs Lesley Turner, of Wooburn Green, and Mrs Sally Williams, of Bourne End.
And in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours two Buckinghamshire residents were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE): Mrs Sally Ash, of Beaconsfield, for her lifetime contribution as a volunteer to Britain’s inland waterways, and Mr John Wilson, of High Wycombe, for services to boxing, young people and charity in Marlow.
Two residents received the BEM for their outstanding voluntary community work: Mrs Jean Peasley, of Bourne End, and Mr Philip Smith, of Newport Pagnell.
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