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Forget the New Year's honours, these are the UK's everyday heroes

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The third group of people to be honoured with a British Citizen Award was announced on 29 December. Thirty three individuals will be presented with BCA medals at a ceremony next month.

The initiative was launched in the autumn of 2014 to recognise achievements by people from all walks of life. Its organisers wanted to create a new national award which mirrored - but was an antidote to the bureaucracy and formality of - the official honours system. The awards are supported by the i paper.

Mike Faulkner, co-founder of the BCA, said there had been a "sharp rise" in the number of people being nominated as word about the awards programme has spread.

He said:

In a little over a year we have reached every corner of the UK and reached out to people from all cultural backgrounds.

This for us is one of the major successes of the programme: it is truly becoming The People's Honours and that means all 'people'.

In July it was announced that Sarah, Duchess of York, had become a patron of the British Citizen Awards, joining Dame Mary Perkins, the founder of BCA sponsor Specsavers, and entrepreneur Hilary Devey, whose company Pall-Ex is another sponsor of the initiative.

Other corporate supporters of the awards include Places for People, Irwin Mitchell solicitors, Benenden and InMoment. The new BCA medallists include:


Mayoor Patel, Bolton

International achievement

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Through several charitable endeavours Mayoor has assisted thousands of children disadvantaged by poverty or ill-health in Africa and the Indian sub-continent, often helping them to gain access into university education.

Over the years he has been instrumental in helping raise over £1.5m for his charities.

Joyce Wylie, Annan

Service to community

Joyce started raising funds for Kidney Research four decades ago, after her sister was diagnosed with kidney failure.

This ignited a tenacity and commitment in Joyce to continue to improve her community by getting involved in a wide range of charitable causes and projects.

She has raised nearly £50,000 for the Children's Hospice Association of Scotland alone and has given tirelessly of her time, energy and support.

Mohammed Zafran (known as Zaf), Birmingham

Service to community

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Having lost his sister to cancer, Zaf's 24-year-old brother-in-law was stabbed to death in a nearby park just a year later. In the months that followed, Zaf decided that his response to grief would be to engage with local youths who had become involved in crime in the local area.

Having won their trust, Zaf set up a community interest company in partnership with South & City College Birmingham called "All 4 Youths & Community". Through his efforts, at least 1,500 young people are back in education and 1,200 have found employment.

Sylvia Morris, Cambridge

Service to healthcare

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Following the loss of her daughter in 1998 from Acute Myeloid Leukaeindicators mia, Sylvia set up the Karen Morris Memorial Trust which to date has raised in excess of £1.8m to establish "Karen's Homes from Home".

These accommodation centres at four hospitals nationwide have transformed the lives of over 4,000 leukaemia patients by enabling their relatives to support them throughout their treatment without having to make daily journeys or pay for hotels.

Elspeth Baecke, Sittingbourne

International achievement

Moved by the plight of homeless children in Africa, Elspeth, a civil engineer by career, purchased a plot of land in Malawi and raised money to build an orphanage. Through her charity, Smile Malawi, Elspeth and her small team have been able to offer a home to around 40 children.

Prof. Gerald Russell, West Wickham, Kent

Service to healthcare

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Professor Russell has been one of the foremost British psychiatrists. In 1979 he described and named bulimia nervosa. One of the physical of the eating disorder was named after him - indeed, Professor Russell is the only living psychiatrist to have a medical condition named after him. His research into family therapy for the treatment of eating disordered patients was revolutionary.

Ken Floyde, London

Service to community

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Ken with some of the youngsters he has helped


Ken Floyde established the Brixton BMX Club in 1981 - and he has worked tirelessly ever since to raise funds and to promote the sport of BMX in London. After starting out at Stockwell Skate Park, the club grew quickly and funding was secured to build a track in Brockwell Park in 1990. Ken's work has been of enormous social benefit in areas of London where youths often face tough choices.

Emily Palmer, Marlborough

Volunteering & Charitable giving

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At only 17 years of age, Emily established Oscar's Fund in memory of her nephew, who was tragically stillborn. Her aim has been to raise funds for charities which support families who have experienced similar heartbreak.

She has run an online auction, instituted a Facebook campaign, organised a fundraising Halloween Ball and made Christmas boxes for every baby on the Neo-Natal unit at Exeter hospital.


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