Simon Lewis, a long-standing British Red Cross worker from Bushey, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2021 for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since joining the Red Cross in 2010, Simon has spent the last 10 years as the charity’s head of crisis response, supporting on some of the decade’s most significant UK crises.
“I thought it was a hoax,” says Simon of the honour. “I was actually out when the call came through, and got the message when I returned home. Until the letter arrived, I didn’t believe it was for real.”
Prior to joining the Red Cross, Simon spent 30 years in the Met Police before retiring as chief superintendent and head of emergency preparedness at New Scotland Yard.
He said: “My whole career has been about preparing for, and responding to, crisis situations. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2017 was by far the busiest and most difficult year I’ve faced in my job. In the space of a few short months the British Red Cross supported emergency services at the terror attacks in Manchester and London, as well as the Grenfell Tower fire.
“This year however has been especially challenging and I am proud of the role we have played in helping to keep people safe during the pandemic.”
Since March 2020, the British Red Cross has reached more than one and a half million people in the UK providing food, medicines, emotional and wellbeing support, transport to and from hospital as well as providing a range of education resources online as we continue to support the most vulnerable communities through the crisis.
Simon continued: “I am honoured and very proud to have been nominated for this award, but I truly feel that there are frontline volunteers and staff that deserve it so much more than me. In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower Fire and the Manchester Arena terror attack, our volunteers were at the front line supporting bereaved families.
“Right now, Red Cross staff and volunteers are hard at work delivering food parcels for people shielding, providing transport for patients leaving hospital and making sure there is a friendly voice to speak to on the Red Cross Coronavirus support line.”