Foreword by Princess Alexandra
2019 was another very successful year for the Society, with a record breaking 1065 awards made to people whose actions saved 467 lives. The extraordinary cave rescue operation in Thailand, carried out with precision and daring while the world held its breath, exemplified the qualities the Society recognises – bravery and selflessness. I was delighted and honoured to meet all nine divers from the British Cave Rescue Council at this year’s very successful Birdwood lecture. Some of the more sensitive nominations for those caught up in the 2017 London terror attacks were still being processed during the year, and these, like so many cases, reflect the everyday bravery of people who acted spontaneously when faced with a situation they never expected to encounter.
Education and training are so important. More and more children and adults are learning lifesaving first aid skills and defibrillators are appearing in village halls and community centres across the country. These steps promise in time to expand the existing network of first aiders, who, as we see routinely in the nominations that the Society receives, can and do save lives.
I applaud the bravery of our awardees, and the selfless way in which they each made a conscious decision to move towards someone in need of help when others turn away. We are humbled by their modesty and the fine examples they have set.
It remains for me to thank all of you who continue so generously to support the Royal Humane Society, and I wish the Society every success in the coming year.