New Year Honours: North Devon duo raise money and awareness
- Credit: George Hammett/Chris Pedlar
Two staunch charity campaigners have been named in the New Year Honours List.
Quiz supremo George Hammett from Barnstaple has been awarded an MBE while prostate cancer charity fundraiser and campaigner Chris Pedlar from Milton Damerel has received a BEM (British Empire Medal).
Mr Hammett has been running quiz, race and bingo nights around North Devon for 20 years, raising literally hundreds of thousands of pounds for countless good causes. He also worked for the then North Devon Theatres for 11 years.
His quiz nights – now formed into a quiz league – have proved hugely popular, not only raising money for charity but also bringing custom to a range of local venues.
He told the Gazette he thought it ‘was a wind up’ when someone from the Cabinet Office called to ask for his email address and told him he was in the honours list.
He still suspected a hoax until the official email came through.
He said: “I was just shocked really, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t sleep for a couple of nights, thinking about it.”
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He thanked the companies that had sponsored his events and the person who nominated him, as well as all the quiz teams that had helped to raise so much money over the years.
For Chris Pedlar, it is about raising awareness as well as money. After his own battle with prostate cancer more than five years ago the Environment Agency specialist has dedicated his time to the cause.
Through his work and beyond, Mr Pedlar has spoken frankly to many groups about the need for men to get themselves checked from middle age onwards, especially black men, who be at higher risk.
He has given many talks on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK and also spoken to prostate cancer groups at North Devon District Hospital, as well as supported cancer patients through their diagnosis and surgery.
And he has called for the prostate test to be more widely available across the country, as not every patient can access it in time.
He said: “It’s just about getting awareness out there. Men don’t talk, we are really poor at talking and going to the doctor, and people are dying because of it.
“I don’t want anything out of it other than the pleasure of knowing some people are going to survive.”
Mr Pedlar has received several awards for his work, including two from the EA. He said: “Every one gives me another platform and then I go out to a wider audience. It's about reaching people, putting the word out there and getting people to listen.”