British Empire Medal presentations

The prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM) was presented to deserving members of the public by Dr Ingrid Roscoe, the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. Dr Roscoe also presented the award for British Imperial Service (ISM) to a member of the Territorial Army.

Of the hundreds of nominees for the BEM, only ten individuals from the West Yorkshire region were chosen to receive their awards, which were presented to the recipients in the grandeur of the historic Bowcliffe Hall.

The recipients of the British Empire Medal were:

  • Sheila Bamford for her dedication and effective leadership of Morton Housing services and her work with the homeless people of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale;
  • Malcolm Haigh for his dedication and service to the town of Batley;
  • Eunice Hemingway, for her unstinting support for those unable to properly represent themselves and for her contribution as a member of Wakefield Samaritans;
  • Winifred McLaughin for a lifetime of dedicated service to the community and residents of Glasshoughton;
  • Roger Parkinson for his volunteering work with the Woodland Trust;
  • Mary Seal for over 50 years of outstanding and consistent contribution within the Bingley district;
  • Heiki Soova, for his huge influence on the sporting lives of thousands of youngsters in the Bradford and wider Yorkshire area;
  • Reverend Paul Wilcock, for his performance as the role of Director of Student Services with the University of Huddersfield and as the Chaplain for West Yorkshire Police;
  • Frank Wright for raising thousands of pounds for local charities and organisations including the Holly Bank School at Mirfield for severely disabled children.

The British Imperial Service award was presented to Michael Kitchenham for his career as a mechanic within the Territorial Army. Michael was nominated by the Leeds University Officers Training Corps.

The BEM is awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the crown. Each of the nine individuals has sacrificed their time and offered their expertise to those who need it and each has made a substantial impact in various ways. The ISM award is given to retired Civil servants who have excelled in over 25 years of service.

The Lord Lieutenant spoke of her enjoyment and admiration for the ceremony and its recipients: “Nothing gives me as much pleasure as this particular ceremony – not only do I get to read about all the remarkable things that the recipients have done, but I also have the joy of meeting them and talking about their experiences. I have been deeply moved by everything I have read. It is just wonderful to think of the contribution that the recipients have made in many places making life tenable for unfortunate people and, in some cases, making it absolutely wonderful for them.”

One of the recipients, Mr Malcolm Haigh, spoke of his disbelief in receiving an award of such prestige: “I am over the moon. I never imagined I would receive an award like this. I am so thrilled.”

Sheila Bamford, also spoke of her delight: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award and very honoured. In receiving this award, I do so on behalf of a really great team and my congratulations go to them as well.”