Earlier this year we asked our community of volunteers across the country to nominate fellow Medics for our annual Tim Bain Memorial Award, which was created following the passing of the scheme’s namesake who had been an active BDMLR volunteer and Area Coordinator for over twenty years. It is designed to recognise people who have gone above and beyond to help an animal in need; consistently represent the charity to a high standard across welfare, teamwork, communication and health and safety, and/or dedication across a range of activities including fundraising and training.
This year our judging panel (the BDMLR Trustees and staff) received nine nominations for consideration. As always it is hard to pick just one person from the many great entries that were sent in, and what stood out this year was that the award winner not only received two nominations, but exceptionally one of them came from somebody who has not even met them in person as their impact has been that notable!
Congratulations to North Wales Area Coordinator Gem Simmons!
The first nominator commented in their entry that Gem ‘shows the utmost compassion to all animals’; ‘remains calm when the need arises to help new Medics obtain experience within a safe environment’; and ‘is a quiet person who has impacted so many lives, the countless pups she has saved and her determination to give a voice to the animals is inspirational’.
Second nominator, Emily Mayman, in her account from dealing with Gem on the phone as a Hotline Coordinator, added that she ‘has conducted herself with grace and professionalism, highlighting the work of BDMLR at its very best and ensuring the welfare of the animal is put first’; ‘Medics have rung in to express their gratitude and admiration at how dedicated she has been, as well as vets and Coastguards who have commented on her professionalism’; and that she is ‘humble and immensely knowledgeable, there is no ego or bravado, she quietly, simply, effortlessly gets the job done at a consistently high standard’.
Gem was presented with an engraved wooden plaque made out of reclaimed driftwoood by Zennormade, a sustainable company based near Tim Bain’s home of St Ives, on Sunday 9 July at the end of a Marine Mammal Medic training course in New Quay, Wales. The nominations were read out in front of a shocked Gem to an audience of newly qualified Medics, alongside team members Julia Cable, Dave, Lesley and Dan Jarvis (Tim’s mentees), Gareth Richards (also Gower Seal Group) and Matt Westfield from Marine Environmental Monitoring.