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50 years of giving and volunteering recognised at British Citizen Awards

50 years of giving and volunteering recognised at British Citizen Awards

Graham Penness, of Little Sutton, Cheshire, has been given a British Citizen Award for a lifetime of  and charitable giving.

Seventy-eight-year-old Mr Penness has spent 31 years volunteering for numerous local branches of Save The Children, has served a total of 22 years as an independent, elected local councillor at district and parish level, and has served 23 years on various action groups and residents’ associations.

The British Citizen (BCAs) were launched in January this year to honour the remarkable accomplishments of individuals in society who positively impact their communities. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.

During his time with Save the Children, he helped raise more than £100,000. He held various voluntary roles and twice represented volunteers at National Committee level. He stood down in 1999 after he relocated to Cheshire.

He is still very active within his local community as chairman and secretary of the Ledsham and Manor Action Group, which was formed in 2011 to fight plans to build 2,000 homes on the same farmland.

British Citizen Awards medal

Winners receive a British Citizens Award medal.

30 awards winners

Mr Penness is one of 30 people honoured last week at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medalists have also been invited to use the initials BCA after their name.

Mr Penness, who was nominated by his step-daughter, said:

“It was completely unexpected but I’m very, very pleased about it. I’ve been doing this now for more than 50 years across three different counties. I have no plans to slow down, as long as my health and that of my wife, Joan, stays well. None of what I have done over the past 50 years would have been possible without the support of my whole family, for which I am very grateful.”

The awards are supported property and leisure management company Places for People; freight company Pall-Ex; law firm Irwin Mitchell; and not-for-profit health services provider, Benenden.

Pall-Ex founder, chief executive and chairman, Hilary Devey CBE, said:

“These awards help elevate the stories of British people who are making a real, and often overlooked, contribution to society. Too often, these individuals do not get the credit that they deserve – and are too modest to seek recognition – and I am proud to play a part in celebrating them.”

Nominations are open for the next round of the British Citizen Awards in January 2016. There are eight categories including the arts, education, healthcare and volunteering and charitable giving.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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