The Lord-Lieutenant has presented individuals from Kent with their long awaited medals at Investitures held in October and November.  We were extremely fortunate to hold the presentations at the beautiful Chevening House in Sevenoaks, the perfect setting for such an important occasion.

Chosen for their outstanding and dedicated community work and public service the recipients, Mr Harry Aquilina BEM, Mrs Ann Ball BEM, Mrs Kerry Banks BEM, Mrs Julie Barry BEM, Ms Kathryn Bispham BEM, Mr Sean Bone-Knell QFSM, Mr Richard Carley BEM, Mr Alan Clarke BEM, Mrs Jane Comeau MBE, Mr Steve Craddock MBE, Mrs Valerie Dyke BEM, Mr Tanjit Dosanjh OBE, Mr Victor Fisher RVM, Mrs Ann Hannah BEM, Nikki King CBE, Mr Jacky Kong BEM, Mrs Melanie Lloyd BEM, Dr Wendy Madgwick BEM, Dr Aminur Rahman BEM, Miss Margaret Russell BEM, Mrs Cleo Smith BEM, Mr David Smith BEM, Mrs Jean Sowten BEM, Mr Nicholas Tanner BEM, Mr Martin Tapp BEM, Mr David Turner BEM, Mr Jason Wenlock BEM were named in The Queen’s Honours lists announced in 2020 and 2021.

The families and friends of the recipients accompanied them at this special occasion and some of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Deputy Lieutenants, Lord Evans, Mrs Louise Bryant, Mrs Valerie Hale, Mr Trevor Sturgess and Lady Newey attended to read the citations.  The Lord-Lieutenant was also delighted to welcome some of her Lord-Lieutenant Cadets, Cadet Warrant Officer Sebastian Luffingham, Cadet Company Sergeant Major Francesca Parkin-Walker, Cadet Warrant Officer Andrew Loy, Cadet Corporal Abigail Green and LC James Scott, to be present at the ceremonies. 

For Services to the community in London during the Covid-19 response, Harry Aquilina was awarded The British Empire Medal. Harry Aquilina is a Firefighter for London Fire Brigade and went above and beyond his role to volunteer for Operation Braidwood, a London Fire Brigade initiative to which provided volunteers to the Pandemic Multi Agency Support Team to prepare the deceased for transportation to the mortuary.

Kerry Banks was awarded The British Empire Medal for Services to Breast Cancer. Kerry Banks’ impact on those suffering with breast cancer has been quite incredible. After losing her best friend to this disease, Kerry has dedicated her free time to raising funds for the charity, Breast Cancer Now.

For Services to the community in Shoreham, Kent, Ann Ball was awarded The British Empire Medal. Ann Ball has been a volunteer in her local community for 44 years and is passionate about protecting the beauty and character of the village of Shoreham. She has been at the forefront of the Shoreham Society’s work to ensure the village remains unspoilt and retains its rural character, in spite of its close proximity to London.

For Services to the community in Edenbridge during Covid-19, Julie Barry was awarded The British Empire Medal. Julie Barry is a dedicated Parish Nurse and has served her community of Edenbridge for many years with great care and diligence. She has had a pivotal role in the community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has supported the most vulnerable people in the area.

Kathryn Bispham was awarded The British Empire Medal for Services to Patient Safety. Kathryn Bispham is the Clinical Governance Coordinator at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and has been instrumental in advancing the patient safety process.

For Distinguished Service, Sean Bone-Knell was awarded the honour of The Queen’s Fire Service Medal. Sean Bone-Knell is the former Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Operations for Kent Fire Service and Rescue. He is an inspirational leader, embodying the values of moral courage, compassion and public service.

For Services to the community in Woodchurch, Kent, Richard Carley was awarded The British Empire Medal. Richard Carley started the Pop In Centre in Woodchurch in 2012 after seeing a need for a community space for the residents of the village. His outstanding contribution has meant that no one in the village of Woodchurch has felt isolated or excluded.

For Services to Charity in Sussex and West Kent, Alan Clarke was awarded The British Empire Medal. Alan Clarke set up the Alchemy Charitable Trust in 2012 to help individuals and families in Sussex and West Kent, who had fallen on hard times. Much of the charity is funded by private donations from Alan, and the charity has so far donated over £450,000 to people in need.

For Services to Education, Jane Comeau was awarded the honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire. Jane Comeau has worked in the Early Years sector for over 30 years and is an active volunteer for PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, becoming their Chair of the Board in 2014. She supports the 25,000 members, particularly during the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Services to Charity and the Community in Kent, Steve Craddock has been awarded the honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire. Steve Craddock is completely dedicated to supporting the Armed Forces and he has raised a phenomenal £500,000 for Help for Heroes, the largest amount ever raised by an individual supporting the charity.

For Services to Optometry in Prisons and Reducing Re-offending, Tanjit Dosanjh was awarded the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He founded the Pen Optical Trust which sets up optical labs to train offenders in optics and to deliver eye care services and glasses to prisoners, ensuring that inmates receive vocational training and essential eye care.

For Services to the community in New Ash Green, Valerie Dyke was awarded The British Empire Medal. As a music teacher and experienced pianist, she ran the Music Workshop for nearly 40 years where volunteer led music groups were available to all ages and abilities. She has been an inspiration to many and brought engagement to a new community, leaving a lasting impression on generations to come.

For Services to The Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard, Victor Fisher was awarded The Royal Victorian Medal. Victor Fisher served for 25 years in the Royal Engineers. He has served in The Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard for over 18 years and has been utterly dedicated to this role.

For Services to Healthcare during Covid-19, Ann Hannah was awarded The British Empire Medal. Ann Hannah is the Rapid Response Laboratory and Cellular Pathology Operations Manager at the Health Service Laboratory. Ann’s tireless commitment and professionalism has been absolutely vital at a critical time in the pandemic.

For Services to Education, Nikki King has been awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She has held crucial roles in several high profile cases with Academy Trusts and has gone well over and beyond to resolve these critical cases, demonstrating her commitment to the academies programme and transformative outcomes for young people.

For Services to the Chinese Community in Croydon, Jacky Kong was awarded The British Empire Medal. He founded the Leung Sheen Chinese Association and Social Club in Croydon and is a leading member of the Chinese Immigration Concern Committee which helps to guard against illegal workers and assists the Chinese business community.

For Services to Young People and the Community in South East England, Melanie Lloyd has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Melanie Lloyd is a volunteer for PHAB, an organisation providing independent living experiences for young people living with significant challenges.

For charitable Services in Deal, Wendy Madgwick was awarded The British Empire Medal. Wendy Madgwick is a community volunteer who has been a committed fundraiser for over 20 years, dedicating her time and energy to raising funds for causes in the local community including the local church, Macmillan Cancer Support and Deal Centre for the Retired.

For Services to Education, Aminur Rahman was awarded The British Empire Medal. Aminur Rahman is the Chairman of the Kent Area Committee for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, where he plays an active role in helping to promote the engineering profession in the wider community.

For Services to the Community in Rochester, Margaret Russell was awarded The British Empire Medal. She is the Manager of the Oxfam Shop in Rochester and has changed the lives of numerous volunteers, giving them much needed experience and confidence to go on to further their careers. She has been instrumental in the shop’s success and has given opportunities to countless people in the community.

For Services to the community during Covid-19, Cleo Smith was awarded The British Empire Medal. Cleo Smith is the Chief Officer of Age UK Hythe and Lyminge and at the start of the pandemic, she set up a Community Hub to support anyone feeling isolated or in need, liaising across organisations to ensure no one was forgotten.

For Services to EU Exit Preparation and Border Security, David Smith was awarded the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire. As Head of Border Force South East and Europe Operations, he has driven forward work to bolster border security and protect UK citizens and communities, building one of the most successful Border Force frontline teams.

For Services to Education, Jean Sowten was awarded The British Empire Medal. Jean Sowten has been the manager at Sevenoaks Day Nursery since 1988. Jean established the nursery as a charitable trust and has provided places for families suffering bereavement, domestic abuse and addiction issues. She has been a key role in many young people’s lives and has dedicated her life to caring for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.

For Services to Homeless People in London and Medway, Nicholas Tanner has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Nicholas Tanner is a Community Nurse, working to improve the lives of the homeless community. He works tirelessly to deliver the best care and understanding to the homeless people he supports.

For Services to Flood Risk Management in Kent, Martin Tapp was awarded The British Empire Medal. Martin Tapp has given over 50 years unpaid service to the River Stour Internal Drainage Board, a local Flood Risk Management Authority. He has committed considerable time to benefit communities by reducing flood risk and protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

For Services to Families of Terminally Ill Children, David Turner has been awarded The British Empire Medal. David Turner is a volunteer for Demelza Hospice Care for Children as a Member of the Family Support Team. David is completely dedicated to the families at Demelza and provides compassion, understanding and care at the very worst possible time in their lives.

For Services to Policing and Young People, Jason Wenlock has been awarded The British Empire Medal. Jason Wenlock joined Kent Police after serving in the Army for ten years. In 2015, he established the Kent Police Cadet scheme which has seen over 600 of the most vulnerable young people in Kent benefit in a way that has changed lives.

In presenting the medals on behalf of The Queen, the Lord-Lieutenant congratulated the recipients for their dedicated work on behalf of others. The Lord-Lieutenant thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the recipients and learning more about the invaluable work they do in their communities.