The Lord-Lieutenant attended the Armed Forces Race Day which was run to raise funds for ABF The Soldier's Charity at Haydock Park on Saturday 25th May 2019. ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the national charity of the British Army, for soldiers, veterans, and their immediate families, for life.
One of the beneficiaries this year was Martyn Gibbons MBE. Martyn served for nearly 17 years including operational tours of Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and two tours of Afghanistan. In 2007, while under fire in Sangin, Martyn was seriously injured after being hit by a mortar round. He was confined to a wheelchair for the first two years of his recovery. However, he has battled to regain the use of his legs, having undergone several operations to strengthen them with metal rods and pins as well as a skin, muscle and bone grafts.
After two and a half years of intensive rehabilitation Martyn was discharged from the Army in October 2010. His wife, Kim, decided to leave her job to help care for Martyn and their three daughters. Experiencing ongoing pain and weakness in his legs, Martyn can only walk short distances and the trauma of his injuries has affected the whole family.
Over the years ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has given Martyn and Kim a number of grants to support them at this difficult time. The first grant funded a treadmill so Martyn could exercise and work on his physical rehabilitation at home. The second grant, later that year, funded a respite break for the family in France giving them much needed quality time together away.
In September 2012, the charity gave funding to Kim. She wanted to study nursing, so The Soldiers’ Charity stepped in to assist with a grant to cover the cost of an access to higher education course. After working hard, her application to study at the University of Central Lancashire was accepted and she completed the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing with a 2:1; she is now a qualified Staff Nurse for East Lancashire NHS.
The Gibbons family are passionate supporters of The Soldiers’ Charity and Martyn was awarded an MBE in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan.
Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell presented British Empire medals on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in Liverpool on Friday 24th May 2019. Also present from the Merseyside Lieutenancy were Miss Anne Morris DL, Mr Nicholas Wainwright MBE DL, Dr Nicholas Jedynakiewicz DL and the Clerk to the Merseyside Lieutenancy, Lieutenant Colonel Sean McEvoy BEM.
The City of Liverpool and the Boroughs of Wirral, Sefton and Knowsley were represented by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Peter Brennan, the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Tony Smith, the Mayor of Sefton, Councillor June Burns and her Consort, Mr Paul O'Brien, and the Mayor of Knowsley, Councillor Jackie Harris together with her Mayoress, Mrs Marie Roughley.
The British Empire Medal recipients were: Kathleen Nolan for services to the Community and Voluntary Sector in Liverpool, Anthony Wainwright for services to the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund, Henry Birch for services to the church and community of Halewood, Gad Kuju for services to diversity, multi-culturalism and the Africa Oyé festival, Edith Martlew for services to the community in St Helens, and Gerard Leggett for services to the safety and welfare of seafarers.
Grange Hill, West Kirby on the Wirral is the site of a Grade II listed war memorial and a Garden of Remembrance. Until the last few years the garden had been allowed to become overgrown and unattractive. Formed in 2012, the Friends of Grange Hill are continually rediscovering the gardens and working to improve them and access to them as an amenity for visitors.
Grange Hill occupies the north-western end of the sandstone ridge which rises behind West Kirby. From its summit there are spectacular views of the River Dee to the Welsh hills beyond and across the Mersey Bay. On a clear day the visitor may see Snowdon, the Isle of Man and Blackpool – this is the best panoramic view on the Wirral peninsula.
On 23rd May, the Lord-Lieutenant visited to see the work of the Friends of Grange Hill and to enjoy a glorious day of late spring sunshine in a spectacular spot. He was hosted by Mr Derek Longman, trustee of the Friends and Captain Hugh Daglish DL.
On Sunday 12 May 2019, the Lord-Lieutenant attended a parade of the Boys' Brigade and presented 13 North West District award winners with the Queen's Award badge. Four of the recipients are from Merseyside.
The Queen's Badge is the highest award that may be gained by a member of The Boys' Brigade. A young person wishing to work towards their Queen's Badge must first have completed their President's Badge. The Queen's Badge offers the chance to engage with the local community, take on responsibility, set personal goals, build self-confidence and experience a sense of achievement.