Over 850 community and charity representatives invited to enjoy the Coronation service from Westminster Abbey

Published 17 April 2023

Invitations to the Coronation Service in Westminster Abbey have been extended to over 450 British Empire Medal recipients in recognition of the contributions made by remarkable volunteers, charity representatives and community champions up and down the country. 

In addition, 400 young people representing charitable organisations, nominated by The King and The Queen Consort and the UK Government, will have the opportunity to watch the Coronation Service and Procession from St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. 

The Coronation Service 

Over 450 British Empire Medallist (BEM) recipients will join the Coronation Service congregation in Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023.

The British Empire Medal recognises the achievement or contribution of service to the community in a local area. This might take the form of sustained commitment in support of a local charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work that has delivered real impact in the community. Presentations of BEMs are normally made locally.

Many of the BEM recipients attending the Coronation Service were instrumental in providing services and support to their local communities during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

A snapshot of some of the BEM recipients attending the Coronation Service is included below in the Notes to Editors. 

St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey 

400 young people representing a range of charitable organisations with a long history of support from the Royal Family have been invited to a special private viewing of the Coronation Service at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, on 6th May. The 400 guests will also have the opportunity to watch the Coronation Procession departing Westminster Abbey at the end of the Service.

200 young people involved with The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation, Barnardo’s, The National Literacy Trust and Ebony Horse Club have been invited to watch the Coronation Service from St Margaret’s, after the organisations were chosen by The King and The Queen Consort.

St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, is known as ‘the Church on Parliament Square’ and is a 12th century place of worship. It is understood that this is the first time St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, has been used to host young people at a Coronation.

Another 200 young people from the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK, St John Ambulance and the National Citizen Service will attend, having been nominated by the UK Government for their contribution to Coronation Day. The four organisations selected are providing stewarding, route lining and first aid services on Coronation Day across London.

Aside from Their Majesties’ personal commitment to and involvement with many of the organisations invited to St Margaret’s, Queen Elizabeth II was the former Royal Patron of the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK and Barnardo’s. 

Notes to Editors

Please see below five case studies of BEM recipients attending the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey who are available for interview via the DCMS Press Office. 

Please contact the DCMS Press Office if you would like to arrange interviews with any of the below.

Mr Max Woosey, Braunton, Devon - For services to Fundraising for the North Devon Hospice during Covid-19.

At the age of 10, Max decided to camp in his garden to raise money for the North Devon Hospice during the Covid-19 lockdown. To date, Max has slept in his garden for 3 years and raised over £600k for the hospice - greatly exceeding his original fundraising goal of £100. Max’s tent was a gift from his 74-year-old neighbour, Rick Abbott, who died of cancer in March 2020. The money raised by Max pays for 16 community nurses who support the community of North Devon, in some of the most rurally remote areas in England. Max also organised a worldwide campout for children to celebrate overcoming a year of Covid-19 in 2021. This event saw nearly 2,000 children from around the world marking his efforts by joining him in camping out. Max also used the one-year anniversary to raise awareness that many children across the globe experienced difficulties throughout lockdown. Recently, Max has also received the Unsung Hero Award from Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, and the Scout Association.

Ms Manju Malhi, London - For services to the community in London during the Covid-19 response.

Manju Malhi is a professional chef who acted as the Resident Chef for charity Open Age since 2016. Open Age champions an active life for older people in London, helping those aged 50 or older to sustain their physical and mental fitness, maintain an active lifestyle and develop new interests. Manju turned Open Age’s kitchen into a cookery school and restaurant for members and staff, and offered remote cookery classes during Covid-19. Manju also leads Open Age’s community Big Local Family Cooking Club. The sessions are fun, interactive and an opportunity for local residents from all backgrounds to come together, make a meal and eat together as community family.

Ms Dawn Wood, Essex - Marine Constable, Essex Police. For services to Marine Policing and to Conservation.

Dawn Wood recently completed a challenge of rowing unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of 3000 miles. The row is regarded as one of the toughest challenges in the world. Setting off from Gran Canaria, and after 51 days and nights at sea, Dawn eventually arrived in Barbados, just missing out on a world record for the fastest ever solo crossing. Since returning to the UK, Dawn has visited over 50 schools and communities to talk about her experiences and raise awareness of marine plastic pollution. In August 2019 she arranged the ‘Big Burnham Litter Pick’ to clear litter from the shoreline. She continues to raise awareness of plastic pollution through fundraising and consultation with local businesses.

Mr Sahil Usman, Blackburn - For services to the community in Blackburn, Lancashire, during Covid-19.

Whilst battling leukaemia at the age of 15, Sahil dedicated time during lockdown to support vulnerable people in the community of Blackburn, Lancashire, during the Covid-19 lockdown. Sahil created 300 hampers containing essential goods for delivery to elderly people across Blackburn. In 2018, when first diagnosed with cancer, Sahil decided to spend his own money on buying Christmas gifts, gloves and hats for other patients on his ward; a tradition which he continued for two years. Sahil also coordinated a “Raising Awareness for Cancer” project, designing presentations for delivery in schools to raise awareness of the impact of cancer on young people.

Miss Katrina Moffat, North Tyneside - Leader, Girlguiding UK. For services to Young People in North Tyneside.

Katrina Moffat became a member of Girlguiding UK in July 2005, opening 1st Forest Hall Guides group in 2012. More recently, Katrina has been instrumental in bringing the community together in the form of The Happiness Project. The Happiness Project is a collaboration between Forest Hall Guides and Brownies and Park View Care Home, with the aim of alleviating loneliness amongst the elderly and encouraging members to take an active role within the community.

Ms Franstine Jones - Volunteer and Trustee, National Black Police Association. For services to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Suffolk

Franstine Jones is the first female president of the National Black Police Association and currently heads up BInspyred - an organisation she founded that provides equality training, as well as coaching and mentoring for those from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority backgrounds. In November 2018 she was listed among Suffolk’s 100 most inspirational women who are positive rolemodels for future generations.

Mr Rhys Andrew Mallows, Cowbridge, Wales - Managing Director, Hensol Castle Distillery. For services to the NHS and Key Workers during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

At the start of lockdown, Mr Mallows repurposed the Hensol Castle distillery to begin producing hand sanitiser for the NHS, key workers and general public. The distillery has since produced over one million bottles of 100ml hand sanitisers - a volume larger than any other distillery in the UK. It took two weeks for the distillery to move from producing alcoholic drinks to hand sanitiser, and Andrew carefully sourced materials in order to make the recommended World Health Organisation recipe.

Anthony and Vicki Van Someren, London - Co-Owners, The Bike Shed and Co-Creators, Bike Shed Community Response. For services to the Covid-19 response.

Anthony and Vicki run a business called The Bike Shed in Shoreditch. After the business shut its doors during lockdown, both Anthony and Vicki wanted to offer practical help during the crisis. They set about mobilising the Bike Shed community to form a network of volunteer riders who, using their own bikes, would provide free courier-style services to medical and other key stakeholders in the fight against Covid. They identified areas needing urgent deliveries of essential PPE gear to frontline healthcare workers, and of food and medicine to vulnerable members of the public. These volunteers also delivered oximeters to individuals requiring critical monitoring of their blood oxygen levels in their own homes and testing kits to those who were shielding and returning them to the appropriate NHS station for processing. Now, the Volunteer Riders Group is operating as a standalone charity.

Mr John Anderson, the Grampians, Scotland - For services to the community in Fraserburgh during the Covid-19 response

Mr Anderson is a volunteer fireman with the Grampian Fire Brigade who recently retired after 44 years in continuous service. He established and ran the local Blue Light Festival to promote the good work of the local emergency services and community safety. As a volunteer fireman he also helped with large-scale rescue operations in Scotland, including a 9-hour mission to rescue an individual trapped in rubble after the Stockline factory explosion in Glasgow. John also joined “International Rescue Corps” (IRC) over 30 years ago, providing help worldwide in the wake of disasters. He has been on deployments to countries across the globe such as Turkey, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Algeria, Mozambique, and Afghanistan.


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