05 May Three recipients of the British Empire Medal received their awards in a ceremony in Shrewsbury
The Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner, presented the medals to Margaret West, Tricia Ward-Jones and Tom Hatfield.
She praised their dedication to the roles that led to their awards and said behind every person with a BEM there was a team of families, friends and colleagues who keep everything together.
Group manager with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Tom Hatfield, received his BEM for coordinating the Service’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw 10,000 vaccinations administered by Fire Service staff. He assisted with the set-up of vaccination hubs around the county which the Service supported with patient transfers and facilities logistics.
He praised the partnership working of the teams involved in the Covid vaccinations. “I am deeply humbled to receive this honour. I feel it reflects the aptitude and hard work of over 200 members of SFRS staff who came together from across the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic to help the communities of Shropshire. “These personnel took on additional responsibilities alongside their normal roles and this award is as much a recognition of them as it is of me. “I’m grateful to have been able to play my part in the COVID-19 response, alongside NHS partners who worked tirelessly to help bring the pandemic under control.”
Mrs Ward-Jones from Bridgnorth was honoured for her work with the charity Promise Dreams over the past 17 years.The Wolverhampton based charity helps fulfil dreams for terminally ill children and their families. She said she became involved with the charity after having to give up her teaching job because of ill health. “I decided to get involved with volunteering and knew I wanted to help children,” she said.
“The dreams that we help to fulfil are individual to every family. It could be a place they visit or someone they meet, or it could be equipment to help the child’s mobility.
“One family wanted a portrait painted of all their children.”
“It is all about making memories. There are, of course, sad times but their are also moments of joy.”
Both Mr Hatfield and Mrs Ward-Jones were honoured in the latest New Year’s Honours List.
Margaret West was given her BEM in The Queen’s Birthday Honours last year but delayed her presentation so she could receive it in Shrewsbury.
Mrs West, 88, was honoured for her work helping children receive education in Uganda and is still very involved in the school charity.
It was trip to Uganda more than 20 years ago to see her friends, Roger and Wendy Ford, on a Voluntary Service Overseas placement that led to the charity work.
She sponsored a young student, Danny Mutebi, who had lost the use of his left arm in a crash, so he was able to go to university and become a lawyer.
His mother was so grateful she started to teach children in her own home and Mrs West and others helped to build a school – named the Margaret Junior School. A sponsorship scheme, recently replaced by a bursary, helped the children go to secondary school and some onto university.The lastest project is new classrooms for those seeking vocational qualifications.
Shropshire Council leader, Councillor Vince Hunt, who attended the medal ceremony and praised the recipients.
“The British Empire and other medal recipients are exceptional in going the extra mile.
“Many have been doing so for several years and quietly under the radar.”
Pictured above – The Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire presenting BEM medals to Tom Hatfield from Wellington (Group Manager at Telford & Wrekin Fire Service), Patricia Ward-Jones (in pink), from Faintree and in cream, yellow is: Margaret West from Shrewsbury.
Copyright – Shropshire Star