Our People Awards 2022 winners were announced yesterday at a glittering awards ceremony, held at our Reading Hub and hosted by actor Charlie Cox who plays Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Marvel's Daredevil TV series.
These annual awards celebrate our incredible volunteers, service users and staff, recognising inspirational people who have truly gone above and beyond.
Here we shine a light on some of this year’s fabulous winners:
Overall service user winner – Rex Davies
Six-year-old Rex was presented with this award by his hero Charlie (pictured above). Sight loss is a large part of Rex’s life and both he and his mum, a guide dog owner, have a vision impairment. Rex is a dedicated fundraiser for Guide Dogs, saying he wants to give back to the charity that has changed his family’s lives and has already raised over £1,000 by completing a 3km muddy obstacle course.
Tom Wright, Guide Dogs Chief Executive, pictured with Rex Davies
Overall volunteer winner - Christine Lacey
Chris is a much-cherished fosterer who has cared for many dogs over the years, providing a loving and caring home for the final stages of their lives. The role can mean unexpected vet visits, close monitoring of symptoms and frequent out-of-hours calls, working closely with our dog care team to gauge when the time is right to say goodbye. Her experience means she is calm and measured and is not daunted with the inevitable outcome despite the emotional cost. Chris’s willingness to repeat this emotionally draining process over and over is staggering and is a testament to her resilience and selflessness.
Overall staff winners – The Academy Team
This team was set up in 2020 to deliver Guide Dogs’ Academy, an ambitious and creative project to change the way we recruit and train Guide Dog Mobility Specialists and Guide Dog Trainers, with the aim of taking on and developing 200 new staff over the next five years.
Since then, the team has made huge strides towards achieving these goals and garnered international admiration from guide dog schools around the world.
Kirstie Bower, Academy Director, pictured at the awards ceremony
Princess Alexandra Award for Lifetime Achievement - Volunteer winner Eva Rich
Eva has spent 60 years continuously promoting Guide Dogs. She heads up the Pembrokeshire fundraising group, which she started in 1975 and has raised around £700,000.
Now partnered with Nancy, her seventh guide dog, Eva is a fantastic ambassador, excellent speaker and tireless fundraiser, and is well known for the personal support she provides to other volunteers and guide dog owners. Her love of life is evident, she loudly and infectiously promotes the value of independence and is much loved and admired.
Eva Rich accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award from Jamie Hambro, Guide Dogs Chairman
Princess Alexandra Award for Lifetime Achievement - Staff winner David Grice
Dave represents everything that is great about Guide Dogs. Starting his 35-year career as a Kennel Assistant, Dave is now Head of Dog Training and Behaviour and has revolutionised the way we train our dogs. Deeply committed to ethical and science-based training, he was the driving force behind our Standardised Training for Excellent Partnerships (STEP) programme and the roll out of positive reinforcement training across the whole organisation.
A highly respected colleague, Dave manages his team with care, commitment and empathy, also giving his time voluntarily as an International Guide Dogs Federation assessor.
Jamie Hambro, Guide Dogs Chairman, and David Grice, Staff Lifetime Achievement winner
Hambro Award - Lynda Palmer
The Hambro Award is a brand new award, designed to pave the way for innovation by providing a grant to build on a brilliant idea from within the Guide Dogs family, and named after and funded by our Chairman Jamie.
This was won by Habilitation Specialist Lynda who supports children with sight loss in the South West. Last summer, she was hugely helpful and enthusiastic in setting up three national masterclasses that gave children a taster of their dream job – either footballer, YouTuber or vet. Lynda will now use the grant to organise an event in her local area, giving more children the chance to have a one-of-a-kind aspirational experience that wouldn’t normally be possible.
Congratulations to all our winners and finalists!
Full details of all our winners and runners-up will be posted very soon on our People Awards web page