Royal Humane Society Website News – Annual General Court 2022

The Society recently held its Annual General Court at Haberdashers’ Hall, by kind permission of the Reverend James Power, the Master.

It was a wonderful occasion and to be able to meet again after the previous two Courts had been cancelled due to Covid was a real treat. Over 135 people attended, including 16 awardees who received their medals and certificates from our President, HRH Princess Alexandra. This was a record number of recipients due to the backlog and we are most grateful to our President for accepting such a challenge.

The standard and quality of the awards was exceptionally high, and included a posthumous Silver Medal in Memoriam presented to the family of Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, who lost his life trying to rescue a woman who had fallen in the River Thames. A full list of recipients can be seen below, and their full storeys may be read in the Annual Report 2021 which can be found on the Society’s website.                    

HRH Princess Alexandra arrives in the Hall
HRH Princess Alexandra arrives in the Hall
His Honour Shaun Lyons CBE

After the Chairman’s address and the usual obligatory Society business came the guest speaker. David Wood MBE MC had been lined up to talk to us but at the last moment he and his family contracted Covid and so we had to call upon His Honour Judge Shaun Lyons CBE to stand in at very short notice.

He gave an excellent and thought-provoking address about the nuances between courage and bravery, directing his words at the assembled awardees. It was very well received during what was a very emotional and moving ceremony.

The President with the Chairman, Mr John Grandy
The President with the Chairman, Mr John Grandy

The President graciously presented the following brave individuals with their awards:

Dr Jonathan Herron

Dr Jonathan Herron – Bronze Medal (for saving a suicidal but aggressive man from fast traffic on a busy road in Antrim, Northern Ireland).

Special Constable Joseph Burridge

Special Constable Joseph Burridge – Bronze Medal (for his brave actions when saving lives on Westminster Bridge following the Westminster terrorist attack).

Craig Paul Collins

Craig Paul Collins – Bronze Medal (for rescuing a driver from a crashed lorry that was on fire and entangled in high voltage powerlines).

Daan De Vries

Daan De Vries -Bronze Medal (for saving the life of a man who had jumped into the Thames on a cold February night). Daan is a Dutch citizen living in the Netherlands.

Andrew Hodges and Harry Hodges

Andrew Hodges and Harry Hodges – Bronze Medals (for rescuing an elderly couple from their home which had been destroyed by a gas explosion. They are father and son).

Jay Verceles (L) and Injesh Khadka (R)

Jay Verceles (L) and Injesh Khadka (R) – Bronze Medals (for using their skateboards to overpower a knifeman who was stabbing an innocent man in Oxford Street).

Brandon Eugene Visser

Brandon Eugene Visser – Bronze Medal (for jumping into the Thames to rescue a drowning woman. He was successful but was badly injured as a result).

Special Constable Graeme Champion

Special Constable Graeme Champion – Bronze Medal (for saving the life of a man who was badly injured after he jumped off a motorway bridge into the motorway traffic below).

Army Cadet Lucy Montgomery

Army Cadet Lucy Montgomery – President’s Award (for saving the life of a French boy and also of her father. Both were swept away by strong currents whilst paddling in a river in France). Lucy, aged 14, was originally awarded a Testimonial on Vellum for her bravery.

Lukasz Koczocik

Lukasz Koczocik – Silver Medal (for confronting an armed terrorist who had fatally stabbed two people at Fishmongers’ Hall, thereby protecting others in the building).

Georgia Laurie

Georgia Laurie – Silver Medal (for saving the life of her twin sister when a crocodile attacked them in a river in Mexico).

Joaquin Garcia

Joaquin Garcia – Silver Medal (for saving the life of a woman drowning in the Thames)

Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole

Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole – Silver Medal In Memoriam – (for attempting to save a woman from drowning in the Thames, during which Jimi lost his life). Presented to Jimi’s family.

Bernard Kosia

Bernard Kosia – Certificate of Commendation (for helping to save a woman from drowning in the Thames)

After a formal group photograph awardees and their guests were able to meet HRH Princess Alexandra in more relaxed surroundings before lunch was served.
After a formal group photograph awardees and their guests were able to meet HRH Princess Alexandra in more relaxed surroundings before lunch was served.

Photography by Graham Baker

Second Award Clasp

PS Darren Laurie and PC Keith Malda, both Metropolitan Police Service officers, were present at both the London Bridge/Borough Market and the Westminster Bridge terror attacks, and for their bravery received a second award Bronze Clasp, a very rare decoration.    

RHS Second Award Clasp (bronze)
RHS Second Award clasp (bronze)
RHS Bronze Medal with clasp mounted
RHS Bronze Medal with clasp mounted

At our most recent Awards meeting the Committee awarded PS Laurie and PC Malda the Society’s Police Medal, presented annually to the officer(s) considered to be most meritorious. When told the news PC Keith Malda wrote the following:

“It is a shock and an incredible honour to be awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal. Having looked at the past recipients of this medal and read about what they had done to receive their medals, I am humbled to join their ranks.

I will never forget the heroic acts that I witnessed my colleagues in the Police and London Ambulance Service perform on the day of 22nd March 2017 and the night of 3rd June 2017, along with the simply phenomenal acts that I saw the doctors, nurses and everyone in the hospitals perform on those two days. And of course, the ordinary members of the public that helped in whatever way they were able, became extraordinary members of the public on those days. I have been humbled to see the way that many of those who were injured physically or now carry a psychological injury have dealt with what they experienced on those days. 

I was not alone at Westminster or at Borough Market. I was surrounded by heroes. And I accept this medal on behalf of all of those heroes that were there on those days, and the people that continue to look after them today. This is OUR medal, and we are in tremendous company. Thank you.” – PC Keith Malda

Donations during the pandemic

The Society relies on donations from organisations and the public for it to be able to carry out its work.

Not unexpectedly donations last year fell by an average of 58% over the 10 months of the pandemic. This has created a significant challenge for us financially. In spite of continuing restrictions which look like inhibiting a return to normality for at least the next few months we are determined to continue our mission of awarding those who put their lives on the line to save others.