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The Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery is awarded annually to recognise individuals who, without thought to their own safety, have acted to confront danger to another person or property, and to celebrate such selflessness as an inspiration to other citizens.
The Award is highly prestigious, with the recipient receiving a trophy, framed certificate, and cheque for £2,500; by order of the Sheriffs, the names of the recipients of the Award are permanently inscribed on an Honours Board and in a Book of Honour, which are on display at the Central Criminal Court – ‘The Old Bailey’.
The award was instituted by the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals after the London bombings in 2005 and is awarded annually by the Sheriffs’ of the City of London.
This year, the launch took place via Zoom and was attended by Alderman Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli, and Sheriff Chris Hayward.
A welcome from the Master, Yasmeen Stratton, addressed the change to a virtual environment, which is far removed from the Judges dining room at The Old Bailey. This, however, has revealed itself to be a positive aspect, as we were able to extend invitation to all our members and guests in order to share this year’s launch with everyone. The Master then went on to discuss the origins of the Award, explaining how the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals has created Livery history with this “historic and honourable gift that will link us now and forever with the Sheriffs for the City of London.”
Alderman Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli gave a few words to “hand on the baton” of the Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery 2021. Speaking on his place on the panel to select the winner, he recalls both the 2019 recipient, DC Joby Reeve, who was knifed while knowingly tackling four robbers, and the 2020 recipient, Richard Dimmack, who stopped a knife attack which would have resulted in murder. Michael noted the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals as an apt Company to celebrate this award, saying, “it is not about who is braver than whom. It is about reminding us that brave, heroic, courageous individuals live amongst us and that if we teach ourselves what is the right thing often enough, we too can join them when we need to act.”
Humbled by his experience in judging the awards, Sheriff Chris Hayward said, “every nominee was a winner in their own way… each of these nominees has committed a selfless act in the name of upholding law and order and in saving human life.” He extends his warmest congratulations to the Company on the launch of this year’s Awards.
The Junior Warden, Russell Penny, who chairs the Sheriffs’ Award Working Group this year, shared words from Sir David Brewer, our sponsoring Alderman and former Lord Mayor of the City of London. Sir David described how the Award has given the Company “great recognition, not only with the Old Bailey, but with the whole of the Civic City.”
Past Master and co-founder of the Sheriffs’ Award Peter French MBE detailed the 2005 London bombings in which Muhammad Arshad Khalil, working on a building site above the station, selflessly rushed down to the platform to comfort and assist the many injured on the train. He was recognised as the first recipient of the Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery. Peter opens nominations for the 2021 awards, which will be judged by the Sheriffs of the City of London in late August in order that the recipients can receive their awards at our Annual Dinner and Common Hall.
Finally, the Master closes by saying “let’s leave here this evening with the intent and purpose of finding that unique person who has acted without thought for their own safety and is truly deserving of the Award.” She proposes a toast to the Company: “may it flourish, root and branch.”
Nominations for the Sheriffs’ Award for Bravery are sought from across the United Kingdom and are open to any person, including members of the public, the Emergency Services, and the Armed Forces. If you know someone who deserves to be nominated, please see the criteria and notes for guidance here.
Written by Dolly Carter, Apprentice to the Company.