Stanhope Gold Medal 2019
The Officers and Trustees of the Society, in the presence of our President, HRH Princess Alexandra, met at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge to select the Stanhope Gold Medal winner from a selection on nominations submitted by fellow humane societies in the UK and across the Commonwealth. In attendance as voting guests were Captain Brian McShane, Chairman of the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society, and senior representatives from the High Commissions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. Six cases were considered (no nomination was submitted this year by the Royal Canadian Humane Association) and a vote taken under the traditional process overseen by the Chairman. Of the 16 votes available 14 were for the Royal Humane Society’s nomination, Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, for the bravery and moral courage they showed during the Thai cave rescue. HRH Princess Alexandra approved the award of the Stanhope Gold Medal to both nominees, who now hold the unique honour of having been awarded over time the Society’s Bronze, Silver, and now Gold, medals. e bravery of a humble man.
Birdwood Lecture 2019 - An Evening with Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick DBE QPM
Over 600 guests attended this year’s Birdwood lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, hosted by the Society in association with Church House Investment Management, in the presence of our President, HRH Princess Alexandra. In line with the Royal Humane Society’s purpose, the event set out to celebrate individual bravery and self sacrifice in the saving of life. We are most grateful to our guest speaker Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police Service for her fascinating and illuminating address. Her take on the bravery of her police officers, who every day go to work not knowing what will unfold, and what will be asked of them in their line of duty, was inspiring. She recounted a number of anecdotes, some harrowing, others exciting, a few routine, of life as a bobby on the beat. No one was left with any doubt that we owe a great deal to these young men and women whose selfless duty is to protect the public.
The Commissioner’s talk was preceded by an awards ceremony for nine Thai cave rescue divers. Bill Whitehouse, the vice-Chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, gave a fascinating account of the world headline grabbing rescue that took weeks to plan and days to execute. Her Royal Highness graciously presented medals and certificates to the divers in recognition of their extraordinary feats of bravery, sustained over an extended period of time and in very dangerous conditions. The Ambassador for Thailand, HE Mr Pisanu Suvanajata, was also in attendance. The following Royal Humane Society awards were presented:
Richard STANTON MBE GM Silver Medal
John VOLANTHEN GM Silver Medal
Joshua BRATCHELY MBE Bronze Medal
Christopher JEWELL QGM Bronze Medal
Jason MALLINSON QGM Bronze Medal
Connor ROE MBE Bronze Medal
Jim WARNY Bronze Medal
Robert HARPER Certificate of Commendation
Vernon UNSWORTH Certificate of Commendation
The Chairman thanked those present for their attendance and took the opportunity to announce a new category of Membership of the Society, whereby anyone can become a Friend of the Royal Humane Society at a lower level of cost than that of becoming a Governor or Life Governor. Considerable interest has already been shown in this new method of supporting the Society, details of which can be found on the RHS website.