Hawick grandmother honoured with award speaks of the ‘fun and friendships’ charity work brings
Jane Bannerman, a mother of four and grandmother of 13, has been a staunch supporter of children’s charity Action Medical Research for more than 40 years – and on 1 January 2017 she was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List for her tireless dedication.
A founder member of the Hawick Committee, which arranges events to raise funds for the charity, Jane today spoke warmly of the ‘joy, fun, satisfaction and lasting friendships’ that four decades of volunteering for the charity have brought.
Jane, 77, who lives in Hawick with husband Sandy, was shocked and delighted to learn of the honour. It is, she says, very much for the whole committee: “I was overwhelmed when I received notification of the award which I will receive in 2017 but, naturally, I am accepting it on behalf of our whole Hawick Committee for Action Medical Research, for all the friends who have given their time, ideas and energy over these 40 years. One person does not make a committee. I just happen to be the person originally asked. I still don't know who put my name forward, but I would say to them, thank you very much!”
Looking back to how her involvement with the charity started in the 1970s, Jane recalls:
“One sunny April day in 1976 when I was at home with our four children, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to a complete stranger, a bonny lass who told me she had been given my name as someone who might consider starting up a committee to raise awareness and funds for a children’s charity.”
“I resolved there and then to ask friends to join me in forming a local Hawick Committee for this worthwhile charity that does positive research with the monies raised.”
The charity, now called Action Medical Research, funds vital research to help sick and disabled babies and children and aims to save and change children’s lives through medical research, developing treatments, vaccines and cures.
“In no time 11 friends joined me,” Jane adds. “We were up and running with a bank balance of £6.00 (50p from each member!) and held our first event in May 1976.”
“A very special occasion was autumn 1976 when we all went to Edinburgh to present our first cheque to Ian Archibald, who headed up the Scottish Office and to hear the charity’s founder Duncan Guthrie speaking. He was an inspirational man who enthused us all. We were urged to ‘raise as much as we could without overstretching ourselves and, above all, to enjoy whatever we did’. These words stuck with us and we still try to follow them today.”
Action Medical Research Hawick Committee members have, Jane says, enjoyed ‘happiness, joy, satisfaction, hard work, fun, challenges, huge successes and lasting friendships.’
Jane, who now has 13 grandchildren ranging in age from six to 27, adds: “Two members of our original committee, Elizabeth Stanger and Marilyn Jarvis have, like me, remained on the committee since day one! We’ve enjoyed every minute. We’ve had a good laugh. Hawick is just a small town in the Scottish borders, this is not a ‘me’ award, it’s an ‘everybody’ award.”
Director of Fundraising for Action Medical Research Jenny Edwards said: “We are so proud of Jane, the Hawick Committee and all of our loyal and dedicated volunteers. This award is a wonderful way to highlight the immensely important role they play in helping us fund vital medical research for sick and disabled babies and children. We are so grateful to Jane and all her friends on the Hawick Committee, and offer our thanks and warmest congratulations.”
** Ends **
Notes to Editors
A low-res photo of Jane Bannerman, 77, from Hawick can be downloaded from this link; this is the only image the family could provide, if you would like to arrange to take a photo, please contact Kate Lee, Research Communications Officer (Mon-Weds) on 21 December or from 3 January.
Caption: Jane Bannerman BEM
For further information on Action Medical Research:
T: 01403 327478
Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research. For more than 60 years we’ve helped pioneer ways to prevent disease and develop treatments benefiting millions of people. Our research has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound, fight meningitis and prevent stillbirths. But we urgently need to develop more new treatments and cures for sick babies and children and we can’t do it without you.
Join our fight for little lives today.
Charity reg. nos 208701 and SC039284.