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Do you have a local hero?

21 January 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is calling on communities across the country to identify the local heroes who they believe should be honoured by the nation.

Gordon Brown said:

“All of us know someone in our street or someone in our community who spends all their spare time helping others. They are always raising money for charity, running errands for elderly neighbours, coaching kids, or doing something to bring the town together.

“Carers, helpers, or just good neighbours, nothing is ever too much trouble or too much effort: they are the people who inspire us all, make our lives happier or easier, and make our neighbourhoods safer and stronger. They are the everyday heroes who make Britain great.

“And how many times do we say to each other: ‘That person deserves a medal‘. Well I think it is time they got what they deserved. And that is why I want us to see more of our local heroes presented with an MBE or an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen.

“And now you can help your local heroes get the recognition they deserve. Nominating someone is simple: call 020 7276 2777 or visit www.honours.gov.uk [External website] and you can start the ball rolling today.”


In this year's New Year's Honours List, more than 4 in 5 of all the OBEs and MBEs awarded went to people who have carried out valuable charitable or voluntary work, either as a career or in their own spare time.

The honours presented by HM The Queen are highly-valued. There are only around 2,000 awarded each year and only the most worthy candidates succeed. That is why the Government wants local communities to help identify the unsung heroes who have made the best contributions so that they can be put forward for consideration.

These will not just be the people who have raised the most money or achieved the most prominence, but also the quiet, modest individuals who have given up huge amounts of time and energy over many years to help the people around them.

To find these people, the Government wants the involvement of organisations across the country – from charities and voluntary organisations to local councils and health authorities, from sports clubs and youth clubs to church groups and old people's homes.

The Government is also appealing to local newspapers and ordinary people to search for their own local heroes.

Anyone is allowed to make a nomination – you do not need to be an official of any organisation. To find out how, go to www.honours.gov.uk [External website], call 020 7276 2777, send an e-mail to ceremonial@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk or write to the Ceremonial Secretariat, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ.

Nominations are considered by the independent Honours Committees, and their recommendations on who should be honoured are announced twice a year in the New Year's Honours and HM The Queen's Birthday Honours.

The nomination process is very rigorous and can take some time. And unfortunately, because receiving an honour is rare, not everyone can succeed in achieving this special recognition, but that should not stop them being considered, and your local hero has the same chance as everyone else.

To help people considering making nominations understand the process, the following additional advice might be helpful:

  1. Who can nominate? Anyone can nominate someone for an honour. Download the form from www.honours.gov.uk [External website] or write to Ceremonial Secretariat, Cabinet Office, 35 Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BQ.
  2. What do I need? You will need two or more letters endorsing your nomination from other people who know about what the person has done or have been directly helped by them. Think about the best people to help support your nomination.
  3. Anything else? It helps if you provide some accompanying evidence of the impact your local hero has had. There might be press cuttings from the local paper, or the local school or hospital newsletter.
  4. What do I tell my nominee? Do not tell your local hero that you have nominated them. Honours are rare, and this avoids disappointment if they are not successful.
  5. What next? The selection process is rigorous and can take 12-18 months. You can always check progress with Ceremonial Secretariat.

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