Veteran Volunteer Receives Prestigious Award for Charity Services
Friday 12th July 2019, has seen long-standing charity volunteer and Abergavenny resident, Jon Willaims, attending an investiture at the Mansion House in London, to receive a distinguished award for his many years of volunteering for the Senior Citizen Liaison Team and other charitable endeavours from the League of Mercy Foundation.
The League of Mercy was founded on 30th of March 1899 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria. It was instigated by the Prince of Wales who became its first Grand President. Subsequently two further Princes of Wales (George V and Edward VIII) succeeded him in this office; finally HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester took over.
The object of the League was to establish a large body of voluntary workers who would assist with the maintenance of voluntary hospitals and 'otherwise relieve sickness and suffering'. When the 1948 National Health Act abolished these hospitals, the League was quietly wound up after performing its task extraordinarily well for nearly half a century.
Central to the annual activities of the League was a notable ceremony at which about fifty people each received a medal known as the Order of Mercy. These were bestowed 'as a reward for personal services gratuitously rendered in connection with the purposes for which the League was established'. At least one original recipient is still alive!
The League of Mercy was re-founded as a UK registered charity on 30th March 1999, exactly one hundred years to the day after its first establishment. Its current trustees, all of whom have a wide range of experience in charitable voluntary work in various health areas, undertook its renewal as a personal Millennium project. All give their services to the League entirely for free.
In September 2010 in a ceremony at Armourers' Hall in the City of London, HRH Princess Michael of Kent was invested with the Companion's Badge of the League of Mercy in recognition of her wide-ranging and distinguished voluntary work within the League's areas of care. Since that time, approximately 30 charity volunteers per year, have received the Order for their personal sacrifices to the charities that they represent.
To qualify for nomination, each recipient must have served at least 7-years of unpaid charitable service and the nomination from the charity, must by supported by at least 2 independent referees who are able to testify to the altruistic service of the person concerned in one of the following charitable areas of work; the sick, injured and disabled, young people who are at risk, the homeless, the elderly, the dying and those who are impaired in mind.
The President of the League of Mercy, the Rt Hon Lord Lingfield, welcomed the 30 recipients of the Order of the League of Mercy and their respective guests to the ceremony and invested each recipient with the insignia of the Order, as musicians of the British Schools Orchestra provided a musical accompaniment to the dignified proceedings.
Following the formal element of the investiture, all recipients and guests had the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with Lord Lingfield and the other trustees of the League of Mercy and an impressive ensemble of invited guests, who included The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Her Royal Highness, Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and a number of other knights of the realm and holders of significant public and charitable offices from around the United Kingdom.
Following the ceremony, Mr Williams commented, “Today has been both a very proud and very humbling day for me. Proud, because it has been wonderful to be able to receive this very distinguished and historic honour in such beguiling location as The Mansion House. But also very humbling, as I am extremely conscious that everything that I have achieved, could only have come to pass as a result of the remarkable efforts of all the people, past and present, who have given their time and skills so generously to the Senior Citizen Liaison Team Charity over the years.
It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to meet all the other recipients, who have sacrificed so much in their dedication to the charitable causes that they have supported for many decades in some instances. Meeting such inspirational members of the community has given me renewed strength and purpose in my own public service goals and I will go forward with even more commitment to keeping the elder community of the United Kingdom free from financial harm.
Although everyone who chooses to support and volunteer for a charity does so with no thought for reward or recognition, I have accepted the Order of the League of Mercy on behalf of all my fellow volunteers and hope that this brief moment of celebration can be shared by everyone who shares our vision, or has supported our efforts since 2009"
Volunteer Receives Prestigious Award
Also present at the ceremony was SCLT Trustee, Ashley Jones, who commented, "It has been a joy to observe this very special ceremony today and to see Jon recognised for all his endeavours over many years of loyal service to the SCLT Charity. It is a truly fitting accolade for his volunteering and it is heartily welcomed by all his colleagues within our small, but effective charity"