The Order of Mercy….A very Prestigious Award!
THE ORDER OF MERCY…….a very prestigious award with the most noble of origins.
Here we track its history and the fantastic news that in July 2017 the Samson Centre for MS’s very own John Hambly was awarded the prestigious ‘Order of Mercy’ by the League of Mercy Foundation.
Congratulations to John Hambly and thank you on behalf of everyone at the Samson Centre for your time, dedication and being one of the founder members who back in 2005 had the energy, drive, enthusiasm and wherewithal to turn a vision into reality. You were part of a building project that would ultimately provide a special place for people living with Multiple Sclerosis in Surrey and surrounding areas, a ‘safe haven’ that has now been successfully operating from its riverside location for some 12 years.
Some history about the award in their own words.
The League of Mercy was founded on 30th of March 1899 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria. It was instigated by the Prince of Wales who became its first Grand President. Subsequently two further Princes of Wales (George V and Edward VIII) succeeded him in this office; finally HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester took over.
The object of the League was to establish a large body of voluntary workers who would assist with the maintenance of voluntary hospitals and ‘otherwise relieve sickness and suffering’. When the 1948 National Health Act abolished these hospitals, the League was quietly wound up after performing its task extraordinarily well for nearly half a century.
Central to the annual activities of the League was a notable ceremony at which about fifty people each received a medal known as the Order of Mercy. These were bestowed as a reward for personal services gratuitously rendered in connection with the purposes for which the League was established.
It is clear that in the future, communities will have to rely more and more on voluntary help especially as the population grows older. Voluntary work for the sick, the elderly, the disabled etc has long been an integral and valuable part of British life. It is developing and enriching for those who engage in it as well as being immensely beneficial to those served by it.
‘They deserve a medal’, is something we often say to those wonderful volunteers who have served their organisations and communities outstandingly. Sadly, there are too few to go around!
That is why on the 30th March 1999, exactly one hundred years to the day that it was first given, the League of Mercy Foundation revived this distinguished award for voluntary service, assisting in the relief of sickness and suffering.
“We believe that it is vital to recognise and honour the work of volunteers. By doing so we may develop public awareness of their work and encourage others to join them in giving up their time to the voluntary care of those in need”.
Lord Lingfield – President of the League of Mercy