British Empire Medal Investiture, 17th October, 2017

 Kent’s finest have been honoured by The Queen with the presentation of their British Empire Medals (BEM). Chosen for their outstanding and dedicated community work and public service the 3 recipients, Mr Henry Austin (Tonbridge), Mr Dean Faulkner (Sheerness) and Miss Melanie Hipwood (Sittingbourne) were named in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list after the medal was reintroduced in the Diamond Jubilee year.
The Lord-Lieutenant, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, held an Investiture at Penshurst Place on 17th October to present the 3 Medallists with their award, following the official announcement in June. The short citations were read by Mrs Louise Bryant, a Deputy Lieutenant and one of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets, Cadet Warrant Officer Bradley Relyea from 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron also assisted the Lord-Lieutenant during the Ceremony.

Mr Henry Austin has dedicated over 47 years as a volunteer for The Boys’ Brigade and has held over 12 positions in the Tonbridge and North West Kent Battalions. When he was made Vice President, he supported 15 other Boys’ Brigades, mentored new Captains and was instrumental in the inclusion of females which saw 10 young girls achieve The Queen’s Badge – the highest honour available.

Mr Dean Faulkner has dedicated many years to St John Ambulance since joining as a young Cadet.  He was made a Cadet Leader at the very early age of 16, which was a considerable achievement.  His continued dedication to the organisation was recognised in 1995 when he was made Assistant County Commissioner.  In addition to this very demanding voluntary role, he is a member of the Isle of Sheppey St John Ambulance Band since 1976 and is an active fundraiser to ensure the band continues for many more years.

Miss Melanie Hipwood has worked as a Civil Servant for the Department for International Development (DFID) since 1993.  She was instrumental in the successful move of this Department to Whitehall, which significantly reduced estate costs and enabled them to be one of the leading Whitehall departments in adopting modern work practices. It has been her outstanding service to public administration, ‘going above and beyond’ for the benefit of others, that she has been recognised with the British Empire Medal.

In presenting the medals on behalf of The Queen, the Lord-Lieutenant congratulated the recipients for their dedicated work on behalf of others.