December 8 2013 Latest news:
By DAVID FREEZER
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Pomp and ceremony were top of the agenda at the Great Hospital in Norwich this afternoon, as the British Empire Medal was awarded to three inspirational Norfolk residents.
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, led a ceremony to present the medals to Norfolk’s three recipients.
Dee Gent, from Denver, near Downham Market, was awarded her medal for services to the Royal Air Force, Derrick Vernall was given his award for services to the community of Horning and Carol Jacobs, from Bawdeswell, earned her recognition for services to higher education.
The trio are among 293 people to be awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) this year, the first since the honour was revived.
This year’s Queen’s birthday honours list in June included BEM commendations for the first time in nearly 20 years, as it was revived to coincide with the diamond jubilee. The commendation was created in 1917 but discontinued in 1993.
The ceremony, held in the grand hall of the Great Hospital, in Bishopgate, was preceded and finished by the National Anthem.
Lord Lt Jewson spoke of his “great pleasure” to be presenting the commendations on behalf of the Queen, before citations about each of the recipients were read to gathered family, friends, and dignitaries.
First to receive their medal was Mr Vernall, 77, who has been recognised for his volunteer work as chairman of the Horning Village Hall committee, reviving Horning Bowls Club, and organising improvements to the village hall and a host of social activities.
Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Sheelin Knowllys, read Mr Vernall’s citation, saying: “Without him Horning would not have the excellent facilities which contribute so much to village life.”
Also receiving a BEM medal was Dee Gent, 54, who helped set up the Rainbow Centre at RAF Marham, which has more than 400 children on its books and cares for up to 250 of them at a time, having been opened by the Queen in 2004.
Mrs Gent was praised for her “outstanding contribution” to children’s services at Marham, as well as her tireless fundraising, including £90,000 for the Rainbow Centre and other fundraising events for charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).
Deputy Lieutenant, Holly Rawkins, read Mrs Gent’s citation and said: “Countless young parents have relied on the support of Mrs Gent at the centre throughout the years.”
While Carol Jacobs, 59, was the last to receive her medal, for her student support services work at the University of East Anglia in her role as personal assistant to the dean of students.
Deputy Lieutenant Charles Barrett read Mrs Jacobs’ citation, saying: “For over 40 years her professional and passionate commitment to the wellbeing of the cohorts of UEA students has been both exemplary and unswerving.”