A British Red Cross volunteer from Cumbria has been awarded a special edition commemorative coin for his outstanding contributions to volunteering as the charity celebrates its 150th birthday on 4 August 2020.
David Hayes from Kendal has been a Red Cross volunteer since 1994 when he joined the event first aid team. He went on to become an emergency response volunteer.
He said: “My first deployment as an emergency response volunteer was in 1996 when I helped community nurses by driving them in a 4×4 to visit people in their homes when it was snowing heavily. Since then, I have been involved in responding to the Carlisle floods in 2005, floods in Gloucestershire in 2007, the floods in West Cumbria in 2012 and Storm Desmond in 2015.
“The thing that shocked me most about flooding is how much devastation it can cause, both physically and emotionally, I’ll never underestimate the power of water again
“During lockdown I was involved in identifying volunteers for the NHS recovery centres which thankfully, weren’t needed. I was a team leader looking after community reserve volunteers delivering meals to NHS staff as part of the Salute the NHS campaign.
“I’m passionate about what the Red Cross stands for and I’m chuffed that I’ve been singled out for an award. I’ve met a lot of friends and I’ve been able to help a lot of people in my time.”
David’s coin is one of 150 uncirculated £5 coins donated by the Royal Mint to Red Cross volunteers and staff nominated by their colleagues for going above and beyond during the Covid-19 emergency.
From the Aberfan disaster to responding to an emergency every four hours in 2017, Red Cross staff and volunteers spring into action when crises hit.
Earlier this year, when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, thousands joined the charity to support the most vulnerable. The Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, supporting those hardest hit by providing practical and emotional support through their national support line, getting cash grants, food and other essential supplies to people in urgent need, and helping the NHS to transport patients safely home from hospital.
Since the start of the emergency, Red Cross staff and volunteers have provided practical support to more than 40,000 people across the North of England, delivering food parcels to 25,330 people.
Featuring bespoke artwork by Henry Gray, the coin bears the words “The Power of Kindness” illustrating the organisation’s ethos of selflessness, compassion and goodwill. The idea of connectivity is central to the coin’s design, with overlapping lines representing what we can achieve when we work together. The edge inscription around the coin bears the powerful words of the Movement, ‘PER HUMANITATEM AD PACEM’, which translates to ‘THROUGH HUMANITY TO PEACE’.
British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said: “We are honoured that the Royal Mint has chosen to acknowledge 150 years of support by the British Red Cross to people in crisis.
“Today our staff and volunteers are putting kindness in action at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been supporting the most vulnerable by delivering food and medicine, making sure refugees and people seeking asylum are safe, providing a supportive ear through our national support line and helping the NHS to get patients home from hospital.
“From then to now, it’s all down to the dedication of our volunteers, staff and the generosity of our supporters that we can continue our lifesaving work. And it is the power of their kindness that will ensure we are there for those who need us most for many years to come.”
Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “We are proud to be producing a commemorative £5 coin dedicated to the British Red Cross and celebrating not only their 150th anniversary but also the extraordinary efforts of this national institution. At the centre of the coin’s design is the iconic Red Cross emblem in vivid red colour – a symbol synonymous with the charity. For 150 years, the British Red Cross has stood by and supported people through crisis and this year has been no exception. Their constant dedication to supporting the nation during the coronavirus pandemic has been instrumental in making a difference and for that we at The Royal Mint are eternally grateful for the work they do each day.”
For more information about the British Red Cross visit https://www.redcross.org.uk/150years