The Royal Humane Society – Activities during Covid-19 Restrictions in 2020
The year 2020 will be remembered by everyone as a most extraordinary time. People across the globe experienced lockdowns, harrowing bereavements, and severe economic difficulties. For our part, the Royal Humane Society managed to keep functioning in line with government restrictions.
During the year we continued to receive nominations from organisations and the public for acts of bravery and lifesaving, and there was only about a 20% reduction in nominations. With the ability to work remotely from home the Society’s Awards Committee made 842 awards to citizens who saved a total of 349 lives. The downside was that we were unable to hold our Annual General Court, normally in the presence of our President HRH Princess Alexandra, or investitures or medal ceremonies where awardees would have been recognised in public, and so unfortunately the majority of these awards were made locally or by post.
Only one scaled down event was held at New Scotland Yard in late August in between the initial lockdown and the subsequent tier regime. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Dame Cressida Dick DBE QPM, presented PC Allan Parker with the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal for 2019. PC Parker had previously received a Silver Medal for his brave actions when saving a suicidal teenager in the fast lane of a motorway during the morning rush hour. His actions were judged by the Society to have been the most gallant by a police officer that year. The Commissioner then presented DC Natasha Holing with her Bronze Medal for her bravery when she and colleagues rescued several families, some with children, from a burning block of flats (note – her colleagues PC Neil Dobson and PC Jamie Normal received Bronze Medals, and PS Paul Wooley a Testimonial on Vellum, at an earlier ceremony when DC Holing was on long leave in South Africa).
Stanhope Gold Medal 2020
The Stanhope Gold Medal, which is normally considered in late November at a meeting attended by our President, had to be cancelled. Nominations were received from fellow humane societies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society. The meeting was run remotely with the RHS Chairman and Trustees, supported by the Chairman of the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society and the associated High Commissioners submitting their votes by email.
The recipient of the Stanhope Gold Medal was Mr Nicola Gilio from New South Wales, in Australia for his heroic actions when he overwhelmed a knifeman who had attacked and then assaulted a young girl. Mr Gilio was badly wounded in the fight. He will be presented with his Stanhope Gold Medal by the Governor of New South Wales in March 2021.
Awards made in 2020
Stanhope Gold Medal
Nicola Gilio – New South Wales 2020
Note – Richard Stanton MBE GM, and John Volanthen GM were jointly awarded the Stanhope Gold Medal for 2019 for their bravery during the Thai cave rescue. Due to the Covid – 19 pandemic we were unable to present them with their Stanhope Gold Medals in person.
PC Allan Parker
PS Darren Laurie
PC Keith Malda
PC Allan Parker
PC Harry Andrews
PS Alex Baldwin
PC Dave Bicker
PC Dean Cook
Daan De Vries
Richard Robert Dimmack
PC Douglas Glaze
SC Karim Gouhar
PC Simon Helm
PC Natasha Holing
Insp Kevin Horn
Cdt Sgt Alex Jeanguillaume (15)
PC Jess Langford
PS Darren Laurie & Second Award clasp
PC James Lawrence
Constable Gareth Maguire
PC Keith Malda & Second Award clasp
Constable Conor McMeekin
PC William Edward McMullan
PC Paul Mitchell
PC Maria Rasooli
CSgt James Peter Scovell RM
Supt Roy Smith
PS James Southgate
PC Brian Stew
Peter Anthony Wood
Cdt Sgt Alex Jeanguillaume (15)
Liam Pastore (15)
Testimonial on Vellum
Testimonial on Parchment
Certificate of Commendation
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.
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.