On 7 November, the Lord-Lieutenant was delighted to present recipients of the British Empire Medal with their medals at an Investiture held at Knole House in Sevenoaks. The Lord-Lieutenant was pleased to be joined and assisted by two of her Lord-Lieutenant Cadets, Able Cadet Jessica Smith and Cadet Cpl Jayden Poullard. Congratulations to all the recipients on receiving their honour which is so richly deserved.

For Services to Retail, Casey Abbott has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Casey Abbott is a Store Manager for Iceland. When the Covid-19 pandemic began, Casey took the decision to open the store an hour early just for the elderly and vulnerable people in the community to ensure that they could buy the food they needed and at a much quieter and safer time. Casey played a pivotal role in shops across the country changing their policies so that vulnerable members of the community could shop safely during the pandemic.

For Services to Education, to Charity and to Animal Welfare, Victoria Golding has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Victoria Golding was the Chairman of Trustees for Kent Wildlife for over 40 years. During her chairmanship, she managed, restored and protected previously neglected sites of national and local conservation importance. Her work with the Trust will have a long-lasting effect, creating a more sustainable, green future for the communities in Kent.

For Services to Table Tennis, to Young People and to the Community in Tunbridge Wells, Gary Howes has been awarded The British Empire Medal. For over 30 years, Gary Howes has run a table tennis club, on an entirely voluntary basis, for children and adults in Tunbridge Wells. Gary has ensured that the club is fully accessible and inclusive to those on low income or from underprivileged backgrounds. The Club is very proud that Paralympian, Will Bayley MBE, started his Table Tennis career with them at the age of 10. Gary is totally dedicated to the club and all its members, constantly going the extra mile to ensure that they are supported.

For Services to the community in Higham, Kent, Patricia Jeal has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Patricia Jeal founded The Eagles Football Club in 1979 to serve the youth in her home village of Higham. For over 40 years, she has led the club and has developed it into a League and Football Association affiliated Football Club. She is totally dedicated to the club and manages all aspects of the running of it. She is heavily involved in the community of Higham, organising fundraising events for local charities and fun activities for the children in the village. This is all on a completely voluntary basis and Patricia’s contribution to her community is exceptional.

For Services to Charity and to People with Disabilities in Canterbury, Kent, Catherine McCully has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Catherine McCully is a Trustee of Cobbes Meadow Group, part of the Riding for the Disabled Association. She is essential to the operation of Riding for the Disabled in East Kent. For over 48 years, she has enabled disabled adults and children to ride horses, providing them with important social interaction as well as the health and wellbeing benefits. An outstanding volunteer, Catherine has made a lasting impact on the lives of countless people living with disabilities.

For Services to Business and Radio Communications, Reginald Pierce has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Reginald Pierce has had a long career in Radio Engineering. He was instrumental in the design and manufacture of the lifesaving product known as SABRE (Search and Rescue Beacon Equipment). This vital product was sold to the MOD and NATO as well as numerous countries around the world. He was one of the forefathers of the modern Control Room Systems which are still used today, providing essential Blue Light services. Reginald Pierce has excelled in his field, saving countless lives, and providing a legacy that will continue to benefit the public for generations to come.

For Services to Maritime Safety, Judith Richardson has been awarded The British Empire Medal.   Judith Richardson has volunteered with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution since 1967.  She has held numerous roles within the RNLI and is totally dedicated to the organisation.  She has been instrumental in raising the profile of the RNLI and Dungeness Lifeboat station.  Dungeness has found itself at the centre of the recent migrant crisis and Judith has played a key role in protecting the reputation of the RNLI.  She maintains relationships with the community whilst ensuring that those who are brought to shore are treated with compassion, dignity, and care.  Judith is an inspirational volunteer and is totally committed to the RNLI and the essential service they provide.

For Services to Wellbeing, Patricia Vella-Burrows has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Patricia Vella-Burrows has been delivering therapeutic singing for over 40 years.  She is the founder of the social enterprise company, Music4Wellbeing which delivers training to health and education professionals and instigates arts and health groups over a wide area of Kent.  She facilitates music programmes for people with Dementia and Parkinsons and the programmes also provide support for their families.  Patricia’s research has resulted in institutional change, having a positive impact on thousands of people around the world.

For Services to Sport, Catherine Wynne has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Catherine Wynne is a volunteer International Technical Official for the International Canoe Association and European Canoe Association. For over 17 years, she has helped officiate and run European and World Cup and World Championship Regattas as well as at Olympic Games. On behalf of British Canoeing, she has been the Chief Official for all national regattas for over 10 years. Catherine has had a significant impact on the lives of countless people involved in sport and continues to do so.

Photo Credit:  Phil Lee Photographics