Rev Don Smith BEM
We are pleased to announce that our Rector,
has been awarded the British Empire Medal
in the New Year Honours List 2022.
The citation read:-
‘For services to the community of Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, particularly during Covid-19’.
This refers to the period before the first Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020 when Don developed a project to deliver food and medical prescription supplies to all local residents who might be stranded without help. This included the elderly and infirm and those with additional needs. This service was free to use, with the recipients paying their food bill at a later date, if they were able to.
Don raised funds from several local organisations and businesses so that those who could not afford to pay for their provisions would not go without basic and necessary food.
This project began as soon as lockdown was announced, and covered the Tendring area of Walton-on-the-Naze, Frinton-on-Sea, Kirby le Soken, and Great Holland, some 40,000 people, many of whom are elderly residents. An emergency phone helpline was established and 30 volunteer phone operators and 40 volunteer deliverers, including Don himself, were recruited from the general public. Over the following four months, 338 food and medical prescriptions were delivered to 129 clients.
The Covid-19 Emergency Helpline became a vital, successful and respected project in the local area. The Helpline continues to operate, with funds in place, should there be a further need in the months to come.
Don also organised a scheme to provide all the eligible primary school children in the area with free lunches during the 2020 school Christmas holidays. He brought together four primary schools, the local Town Council, local churches, and several local businesses, to provide a meal for every eligible child, some 320 children altogether, over the eleven weekdays of the Christmas period.
Although a parish priest is not required or expected to be a ‘community worker,’ it is hoped that they will have some effect on the life of their parish; community involvement is never taken for granted. In addition to the Covid-19 activities, it was also noted that Don has given over thirty years of community work and involvement, wherever he has served as a church minister. The evidence gathered for Don’s successful award nomination for the British Empire Medal includes the following examples:
Organising Committee – Islington Summer Scheme, London 1991 - 1995
Bishop of Stepney’s Police Liaison officer 1992 - 1995
North Islington Community Forum Chairman – 1992 – 1995
Ealing, London YMCA, 1998 – 2002
Ealing, London Arts Festival, 1999 - 2008
Community Millennium Celebrations – December 1999
Ealing Dance School & Internet Café, 2001 - 2008
West Ealing Community Theatre, 2004 - 2008
National Television appearances, 2005 - 2007
Chaplain to Walton-on-the-Naze (Essex) Sea Cadet Corps 2010 – 2015
Chairman to Frinton Mission 2012 - 2020
Community Book Box, 2018 – present…
Peter Wood & David Kidney (Churchwardens) - 2 January 2022