A mum who helped raise more than £455,000 for families affected by cancer after losing her own child to the disease has been recognised with a national honour.
Inspirational Jennifer Gill, from Leven, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to volunteering and charitable giving.
The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society.
BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
Jennifer, aged 32, along with her husband Andy, set up the LoveOliver charity in 2011 in memory of their first son, Oliver, who died from a rare and aggressive form of cancer on Christmas Day 2010, aged just 24 weeks.
Not only have they helped more than 295 families across Scotland with financial support, as well as handed out nearly 600 supermarket vouchers to newly diagnosed families, the charity is now also funding a second four-year PhD studentship at Newcastle University, and have expanded the practical support they provide to families to include every newly diagnosed childhood cancer family in Scotland.
Jennifer wants to do all she can to help other families facing the same devastating journey.
She thoughtfully chooses gifts for children with cancer, provides supplies for therapists as well as toys, games and books for hospital wards, plus various items from cookers to dining tables for the CLIC Sargent house in Edinburgh.
Jennifer is one of 36 medallists ,who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 25 at the Palace of Westminster.
All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes.
Each will receive a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medallists are also invited to use the initials BCA after their name.
Jennifer said: “The financial pressures on families of children with cancer are enormous so we want to relieve that as much as we can.
“Any publicity for the LoveOliver charity helps no end and I’m just so delighted that our work has been recognised in this way. We have a huge team of friends, family, volunteers and complete strangers who get involved and this is a tribute to them and their hard work.”
The awards are sponsored by the UK’s largest optical retailer, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; specialist PR, branding and communications agency, Nathan Rous PR; and worldwide leader in IT and networking, Cisco. Each will be presenting the awards in January, alongside TV star host, Bradley Walsh.
Business development association Emma Taylor of BCA sponsor Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are incredibly proud to have supported the British Citizen Awards from its first year.
“Through our work we meet some incredibly and inspirational people like Jennifer who against all odds make a huge difference to so many lives. So many people do incredible work to help others and we look forward to hearing more heart-warming and amazing stories.”
Jennifer was nominated for a BCA by LoveOliver supporter Sheila Morrison, who said: “In my opinion Jennifer’s contribution is exceptional because most of the money raised to date has come from fundraising events organised by herself.
“Jennifer wants to do all she can to help other families facing the same devastating journey. She thoughtfully chooses gifts for children with cancer, and wisely distributes financial grants to families to help relieve money worries.”