Honours are open to people from all walks of life and all sections of society. They are for individuals who have made a difference to their community or field of work. They acknowledge and celebrate outstanding achievements and nominations can be made by anyone at anytime. The honours awarded are:

  1. British Empire Medal (BEM) is awarded for very 'hands-on' service to the community in a local geographical area.
  2. Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) recognises an achievement or service to the community which has delivered a sustained impact and which stands out as an example to others.
  3. Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) recognises those who have performed a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field.
  4. Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) rewards a prominent national or regional role. 
  5. Dame or Knight is available for those who have made a pre-eminent contribution in any field, usually at a national level.

There are always fewer honours than people who deserve them and because they are rare, they should be reserved for people:

  • who have changed things – especially by solid, practical achievement
  • whose work has brought distinction to British life or enhanced the UK's reputation in their area or activity

This can include long-term voluntary service, improving life for people less able to help themselves, or displaying moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices.

Nominations are particularly welcomed for 'local heroes' who are well respected by local people and who have made a difference in their neighbourhood. Over half of all awards go to people who are putting something extra into the community on a voluntary basis.

Further details and application forms can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The Lieutenancy has also developed a support pack for all UK Honours which you can download here.

The Elizabeth Cross

The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice.

The Elizabeth Cross is not a posthumous medal for the fallen but an emblem demonstrating tangible national recognition for Service families for their loss.

Not all deaths of Service personnel are included in this scheme. The death of any service person, whatever the circumstances, is a tragic loss to his or her family and to the Armed Forces as a whole, but the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families.

The first Elizabeth Crosses and Memorial Scrolls are to be granted from 1 August 2009 (and will be retrospective to the end of the Second World War). All eligible Next of Kin of those who died between 1 January 1948 to date are strongly advised to apply, although the MOD Medal Office will endeavour to establish contact with the more recent eligible families, where up to date contact details are held.

Further details and application forms can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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