Presided over by HRH The Princess Royal since the Trust’s launch in 1985, the Annual Award Ceremony is the highlight of The Butler Trust’s year and a chance to celebrate the achievements of the inspirational people recognised through the Awards.
35th Award Ceremony – 2020
The 2019-20 Butler Trust Annual Award Ceremony – our 35th – was due to be held at St. James’s Palace in London on Thursday, 26th March, presided over (as on every occasion since our launch) by our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.
Sadly, of course, we had to postpone the event, which is normally the highlight of our entire year. Yet the primary task of the Trust and its Awards – to highlight outstanding efforts by those working in prisons, probation, and youth justice – feels even more important than ever under the current circumstances. We’re all aware of the heroic efforts of so many who continue to do what they do best on behalf of us all, but one group is rather more hidden than most – in the case of prison workers, literally behind closed doors – and we wanted to do something to mark the Awards, until we can hold them properly at a later date, not only for our deserving winners, but also to underline the vital contribution they, and all those in criminal justice system, make to the fabric of our national life.
So we decided to hold a ‘virtual Ceremony’ on Twitter (@butlertrust) and through our website – following, as closely as we could, the programme we would have followed if we’d been holding it for real… and, unlike the London Ceremony we planned, all were invited to attend.
We commenced, on schedule, at 2 p.m. sharp, with a welcome message from the Chair of our Trustees, Malcolm Butler. Malcolm is the grandson of RAB Butler, who as the Secretary of State from 1957 to 1962, understood the critically important role played by the men and women who work in our criminal justice system. As Malcolm stressed:
“Their role has never been more important, or challenging than it is right now, and they all deserve our profound admiration, appreciation and support for the gifts with which they do their work, and for being frontline staff. We are reminded by the absence of today’s scheduled event that offender management can never be absent in its role – it is on the frontline, where it always has been – and always will be.”
Our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, then shared some remarks about our winners and their colleagues in prisons, and probation and youth justice services, highlighting “the dedication, skill and resilience of the men and women who work in them” and noting the “critically important role [they play] on behalf of the people in their charge and the wider public”.
It was now time to introduce each of the 2019-20 Commendees who – when the event is rescheduled, in due course – will receive their Certificates from HRH The Princess Royal:
- Heather Bestwick (HMP Whatton)
- Chloe Blake (NPS South West & South Central)
- Simon Bland (DLNR CRC)
- Ryan Brewster (Yorkshire Prisons Group)
- Michael Brigginshaw (HMP & YOI Woodhill)
- Steve Coffield & Mark Kendal (HMP Humber)
- Keith Daniel (HMYOI Wetherby)
- Barry Flanagan (HMP & YOI Wymott)
- Mark Godman (HMP & YOI East Sutton Park)
- Yvonne Grime (HMP & YOI Styal)
- Ed Horwood (North Yorkshire Youth Offending Team)
- Claire McCartney (Youth Justice in Scotland)
- Deborah McLening & Lisa Udale (Kent, Surrey & Sussex CRC)
- Emmy Mercan (Kent, Surrey & Sussex CRC)
- Pauline Miller-Brown (HMP Oakwood)
- Tim Morris (HMP Liverpool)
- Tracy Perry (HMP Ford)
- Adrian Tayler (HMP Magilligan)
- Danny Terrey (HMP & YOI Portland)
- Holly Thurman (Croydon Youth Offending Team)
- Dave Wood (HMP Full Sutton)
- John Woolham (HMP Liverpool)
Next, we heard from two of last year’s Award Winners about their work – and what a Butler Trust Award had meant to them.
First, Sue Pearson from Leeds Youth Justice Service spoke about her work with troubled families addressing the often-hidden issue of child-to-parent violence, and talked of the impact of her Award:
“It was the most amazing experience to be invited to the Palace. I recall feeling so anxious, proud and excited as I waited with my son for the Ceremony to begin. It was an unforgettable experience to see his pride when I received my award.” (Find her full address here).
We then heard from David Savage, Deputy Governor at HMP Maghaberry in Northern Ireland – last year’s Princess Royal’s Prize Winner – who outlined his role in helping to transform the jail from “a place where Charles Dickens would not have batted an eyelid if he had walked through it”, and concluded with a message for this year’s winners and their wider colleagues:
“You are outstanding individuals working in an exceptionally difficult field. You should be extremely proud of your achievements as I know your families, friends and colleagues are. You positively change people’s lives each and every day, and I hope you continue to do this.” (His speech can be found here).
We then announced this year’s Award Winners:
- Florence Alake (HMP & YOI Isis)
- Kirsten Amphlett (NPS South West & South Central)
- Alice Burrows (London CRC)
- Nikki Dennington (HMP & YOI Standford Hill)
- David Hill (HMP Buckley Hall)
- Laura Jacobs (HMP Grendon)
- Denis Lewis (Leeds Youth Offending Team)
- Terence Rowley (HMP & YOI Brinsford)
- Sarah Viner (London CRC)
- Steve Whitehead & David Wilson (HMP & YOI Hull)
After the Awards, we turned to one final announcement, the name of this year’s overall winner, and recipient of the 2020 Princess Royal’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement…
… Florence Alake.
It would now, ordinarily, be time for afternoon tea, and a chance for Her Royal Highness and our many distinguished guests to speak to our winners in slightly more relaxed circumstances.
While they still look good, cakes and sandwiches aren’t as tasty online, but the words our supporters wanted to personally share with our winners, and their colleagues across the country, were as heartfelt as ever – and we were enormously grateful to get personal contributions and congratulations to our winners and their colleagues from a number of leading figures.
The Archbishop of Canterbury (whose mother, Lady Williams of Elvel, was RAB Butler’s niece), and Sir Trevor Brooking, both sent video messages:
As well as congratulating our winners and thanking their colleagues across the sector for their ongoing service, The Archbishop, one of our Patrons, noted:
“We measure a civilisation by the way it treats those who don’t matter to it. Every human being has an intrinsic dignity… you show the value of a civilisation by the way you seek imaginatively to care for them… what you do is absolutely invaluable. You are much in our prayers.”
Sir Trevor, a founding Trustee and now also a Patron, noted the spirit abroad in these trying times, and added that “all I can say from West Ham’s point of view is they’ve remained unbeaten for some time now!”
Two more longstanding supporters and Patrons of the Trust, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Rt. Hon. Lord Woolf, and Terry Waite CBE, shared their own personal messages:
There were messages too from: the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, The Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP; the Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP; and the Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, Dr Jo Farrar.
RAB’s daughter and Trust Patron The Hon. Sarah Price shared her congratulations, heartfelt thanks and every best wish to all those working in the field and their families. The Chair of our Awarding Panel, Sir Michael Harrison, was also keen to added his own warm congratulations. He noted how many nominations are made, remarkably, by offenders and ex-offenders, showing “a real desire to credit someone whose work has profoundly touched other people’s lives.” Calling this year’s winners, correctly, “the stars of the show”, he paid tribute to their “phenomenal contributions”:
Many, many messages of support poured in during and after the event, some of which we’ve pulled together in a separate Twitter Account below – please share your own tributes and messages of support using the hashtag #HiddenHeroes.
And if we may, we’d like to add a final message of our own:
To all those working in prisons, probation and youth justice services right now, continuing to do what you do best on all our behalves – we applaud you!
[👇sound on 🔊]
34th Annual Award Ceremony – 2019
The Butler Trust’s 34th Annual Award Ceremony, hosted by HRH The Princess Royal, was held on 21st March, 2019. By gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen, the event was held at St. James’s Palace in London, the senior Palace of the Sovereign.
In his welcome address, the Trust’s Chair, Malcolm Butler – grandson of RAB Butler, for whom the Trust is named – explained that the Awards “enjoyed support at the highest level”, and then proceeded to list just a few of the many distinguished guests who had gathered to show their appreciation for the winners.
In addition to the winners and their personal guests, there were senior representatives from across the entire sector, including the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt. Hon. David Gauke, MP, the Minister of State for Prisons & Probation, Rory Stewart, OBE MP, Sir Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, and the Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group (and former Chief Inspector of HM Prisons), Lord Ramsbotham CGB CBE. Also attending were the Chief Executive Officer of HMPPS, Michael Spurr, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, Colin McConnell, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM, as well as Dame Glenys Stacey, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation. Other notable guests included football legend and Butler Trust Patron Sir Trevor Brooking CBE as well as the Trust’s longstanding supporter (and former Secretary to Sir Winston Churchill), RAB Butler’s niece, Lady Williams of Elvel.
In short, the room was filled with an extremely wide range of very senior figures from across the entire criminal justice sector who had come from all corners of the United Kingdom to personally applaud our exceptional winners.
“I would like to congratulate all of our exceptional prison and probation staff who have been recognised at today’s awards ceremony. They are unsung heroes who do a difficult job every day to protect the public, while at the same time helping to put so many people back on the right path, including those who are considered the most difficult to rehabilitate.
I am incredibly grateful for all of their hard work and they deserve to be celebrated for this fantastic achievement, along with the rest of our prison and probation staff across the UK.”
Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice
In an address, The Princess drew attention to the record number of nominations this year – with one in three nominations for prison staff initiated by prisoners – and spoke of the commitment, resilience, dedication, skill and professionalism that increasingly characterise the sector.
Her Royal Highness then presented certificates to the 20 winners of Commendations, before two speakers talked of their experience of being Butler Trust winners last year. Ray Stuart, of HMP Kirkham, told the audience “my game’s fixing bicycles – and trying to fix people as well”, and said that while he didn’t need the Butler Trust’s recognition, winning an award – and taking part in the Alumni programme – had been “really useful”. Ellen Hodgins, of the National Probation Service, Midlands, talked of the “vital” importance of effective collaboration, of working with colleagues, and of the pleasure of finding “golden nuggets of unexpected progress”. She suggested that her Butler Trust win was personally rewarding and also offered “recognition to the colleagues I work with”.
The Princess Royal then presented certificates to the 10 Award winners, as well as a special Honorary Award to Michael Spurr, and then HRH The Princess Royal’s Prize – a closely held secret until its announcement at the event – was presented to David Savage.
Threaded through both the public remarks and comments by the winners themselves was a real sense of the value of learning from – and inspiring – each other. Her Royal Highness noted the Trust’s Director had so far visited no less than 94 prisons as part of the The Good Book of Prisons project, to personally learn about the good practice in conversations with over 2000 prisoners, staff, and managers. Meanwhile Ellen Hodgins praised the Trust’s Alumni and Mentoring Programme for giving her a chance to learn from “like-minded people at the top of their game”.
This year’s winners agreed. The Revd. Susie Simpson (one of three Chaplains among this year’s winners), said it was “such an honour to meet the other winners”, who she called “extraordinary people” who are “all very humble” even while doing “amazing stuff”. The Revd. Lesley Mason added that “it was really great hearing everybody’s story. It makes you realise how many people are doing things – and if we could capture that, we could do so much more!”
“I would like to congratulate all of today’s winners for this fantastic and well deserved recognition. It is the hard work, energy and dedication of our prison and probation staff that helps to transform the lives of many people across the UK.
An important thing that today’s winners have in common is their inspirational approach. Each of them has helped to rehabilitate complex offenders and allowed them to understand the consequences of their actions – reconnecting them with their families and supporting them into education and employment.
Their work is incredibly important to society and I would like to thank them for their role in making our communities and streets safer.”
Rory Stewart, Prisons and Probation Minister
In addition to enjoying the surroundings – including the Queen Anne and Entrée Rooms, where lunch and afternoon tea were served – Nichola Turner was particularly interested in the opportunity to speak with both the Princess and Ministers. And while Kevin Allwood, one of HMP Grendon’s two winners, confessed that “this spotlight stuff isn’t really my thing”, he nonetheless said it had been “a really good day”, and added that “it’s nice to be recognised.”
There was also a strong sense among winners of the pleasure of being among peers – “people who enjoy what they do, and are good at it”, as Margaret McMullen put it. Lucy van-Waterschoot works with two former Butler Trust winners who told her that “when you come here you just feel inspired – and I am!” Being a Butler Trust winner is, it’s clear, more than a remarkable event – it’s also an opportunity. Or, as Kathryn Bruderer put it, “hearing everybody’s stories is so moving, and very inspirational: you’re encouraged to be positive – to think bigger!”
High resolution versions of the above images can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant image.