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Red Cross staff and volunteers receive honours

18 October 2016

Three Red Cross members have recently received honours to recognise their outstanding contributions through the work of the movement.  

Ian and Gwen McMichan from Litherland were awarded British Empire Medals for voluntary service to first aid through the Red Cross.

Meanwhile Stephen McAndrew from Los Angeles was appointed an honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his role responding to the Ebola crisis.

Training hundreds in first aid

Ian and Gwen are trained ambulance crew members who have provided first aid at hundreds of public events in the North West since joining the British Red Cross in 1984.

They also run the Red Cross centre in Formby, where they have trained hundreds of people in life-saving skills and raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

In the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Ian and Gwen supported families from Merseyside as they went through the pain of identifying loved ones or visiting them in hospital.

“When Hillsborough happened we manned the phones and arranged transport, taking many people there ourselves,” Gwen said.

“I took two people to hospital to see their relatives and Ian had to go with another family to identify their relative. It was very hard but we were there to offer support.”

They were also both at the Aintree Grand National as first aiders in 1997 - Ian as Duty Officer for the Red Cross - when the racecourse was evacuated due to an IRA bomb threat.

The pair – who met as teenagers and have been married 39 years – also work for British Red Cross First Aid Training but fit in volunteering around full-time work.

Ian said: “Today has been a wonderful day for me and Gwen, and the family and friends who were there to see us presented with our award – many of whom are colleagues from the Red Cross.

“I do still get emotional when I think of some of the things that we have done while volunteering. To know that you’ve actually saved someone’s life – you can get up in the morning and it doesn’t matter what the world throws at you.

Fighting Ebola

Stephen McAndrew from Los Angeles has also been appointed an honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition for his role as head of operations for the Red Cross response to the Ebola crisis.

Stephen works with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as head of emergency operations. His latest mission was in Greece working with refugees.

Stephen said: “This is a great honour, and although I received the award, it is on behalf of all the Red Cross, Red Crescent volunteers, staff and international delegates who stood up to face the unknown and confront the fear of Ebola.

“I am inspired to know that humanity can still rise to meet a global challenge and succeed by working together. The Movement response operation to Ebola is something we should all be proud of.”

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