British Empire Medal: Recognising the 'unsung heroes'






After Prime Minister David Cameron announced the return of the British Empire Medal (BEM), we tell the stories of some of the local heroes who were honoured the first time round.

Sometimes seen as a "working-class gong", the BEM was founded in 1917 and was awarded for "meritorious" actions whether by civilians or military personnel.

But the honour was scrapped in 1993 by former Conservative premier John Major, as part of his drive towards a "classless" society.

However, nearly two decades on, the prime minister has announced its revival, and from next year, to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, about 300 will be awarded annually to community volunteers.

The families of those who received the honour the first time round have welcomed the move - as long as it remains the "unsung heroes" who are recognised....



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