Empire medal to be brought back
Saturday 29 October 2011
A medal for local heroes scrapped by John Major in 1993 as part of his bid to make the honours system "classless" is to be revived, David Cameron has announced.
Hundreds of British Empire Medals (BEM) will be awarded from next year, as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration, in what will be seen as a fresh initiative in the Prime Minister's Big Society initiative.
Mr Cameron said too few individuals making a real difference in their areas were receiving MBEs - the honour which his predecessor as Conservative premier hoped they would receive instead.
First established in 1917, the BEM was specifically designed for those who "by virtue of their rank" did not qualify for an MBE and was seen as a working-class honour.
Mr Major, who has since been knighted, decided that the distinction had "become increasingly tenuous" and that he wanted more local people to receive their awards from the Queen herself - BEMs being awarded instead by lords lieutenant of the relevant county or local authority on her behalf.
The revived honour will also be bestowed by the lords lieutenant although recipients will be entitled to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party with others whose work has been recognised.
Around 300 a year will be bestowed, although the number is expected to be lower in the first year.
"I am delighted that we are going to start using the British Empire Medal again," said Mr Cameron, who is in Perth, Australia, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
"The medal will be handed out in recognition of the dedication and hard work so many provide to their communities.
"At the moment, the number of people being honoured for the services they provide to their local communities is disproportionately low.
"I am determined to change that and redress the balance." PA
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...
£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...