RNID is delighted that 3 of our volunteers have been named in the Queen’s birthday honours for voluntary service to our charity in Northern Ireland.
Our trustee Dr Brian Caul and volunteer Hilary Lewis have received MBEs in the Queen’s birthday honours. Volunteer Gerry Knight was also recognised with a BEM for services to our charity.
Brian became a member of RNID’s Board of Trustees in 2017 and previously served as Chair of our Northern Ireland Advisory Group.
He has volunteered for RNID in Coleraine for more than twenty years, running a weekly information stand at Causeway Hospital, and playing an active part in helping us to reach people with hearing loss in rural and ethnic minority communities. Brian has had tinnitus for ten years, and uses his understanding of the condition to inform and support others.
Brian’s connection to RNID dates back to the 1980s, when he was Director of Student Services in the University of Ulster. Here he co-founded the Joint Universities Deaf Education Centre (JUDE) with Queen’s University. RNID published his research study of the school-leaving qualifications of young people with hearing loss in Northern Ireland, and his biography of Francis Maginn, the great pioneer for the rights of deaf people.
“I’m deeply honoured to be nominated for the MBE by my longstanding friends in RNID. Over the years, I have benefited enormously from the friendships and challenges as a volunteer, researcher and trustee for this great charity.
“I hope this award will encourage others in the wider community to think about making their skills and experience available to RNID as professionals or volunteers at this time of exciting change, as the charity launches its strategic work to improve inclusion, employment, health and research.”
Hilary has severe hearing loss and started volunteering with RNID in 2010. She has contributed more than 500 hours in a variety of volunteer roles over the years, including providing deaf awareness sessions at schools, carrying out numerous home visits to people needing support with hearing aids, and building relationships with local community groups.
She was instrumental during the pandemic, researching all the care homes in her local area so RNID could reach out and support residents with hearing loss. She has been a great support to people coming to terms with their hearing loss, and her fantastic work is changing the culture in her local community.
“I feel this award is really for RNID and the fantastic work they do. I’m honoured that they chose me to receive it, and I’m pleased that I’ve been able to support this amazing charity so much over the years by volunteering for so many different projects”.
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at RNID, said:
“We’re thrilled that Brian, Hilary and Gerry have been recognised in the Queen’s honours in this way, particularly in this Jubilee year.
“Brian and the rest of our Trustees have helped RNID forge an ambitious strategy, which we’ve just started to deliver. Together with our trustees, staff and our amazing supporters, we are working for real change for the 12 million people in the UK today who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.
“As well as exciting digital campaigns and products – like our online hearing check – thanks to many volunteers like Brian, Hilary and Gerry our charity also continues to run face-to-face drop-in sessions to provide hearing aid user support and information.”