A breast cancer fundraiser that raised nearly £ 250,000 dedicated her queen’s honor to her late friend who inspired her charity work.
Deal’s Kerry Banks received her British Empire Medal on Tuesday at Chevening House in Sevenoaks, nearly two years after being named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors.
The medal recognizing her services for breast cancer was aptly encased in a pink ribbon and presented by Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain.
It was in the presence of her husband Simon Banks, her mother Linda Barnett, her stepfather Godfrey Barnett and her son Cofie Behan.
She told KentOnline: “I want to dedicate it to my friend Julie and all the other ladies and gentlemen I have met on my trip who are unfortunately not with us.
“I have met some amazing people.”
The 48-year-old started fundraising for Breast Cancer Now in 2006 and has just £ 3,000 left to raise £ 250,000.
Her inspiration to begin with was her good friend Julie Mortimer, who died of cancer four years later.
Since then, Ms Banks has called her work Julie’s Legacy and takes a personal letter written by her good friend with her wherever she goes.
The grandmother of two, who works for the Martha Trust, organizes two annual walks in the city; The Crocus Walk each spring and The Stepping Out Walk in October.
She also organizes smaller events and volunteers her time to lecture in schools and teach people the importance of TLC – Touch Look Check.
Last month, she ran three Wear It Pink events in two days at The Whitehouse, Coastguard Pub and Mill Hill Co-op, raising nearly £ 1,200.
Ms Banks continued: “It was an incredible feeling. It was definitely worth the wait.
“But I’m not doing it for recognition, I’m doing it to help save people’s lives.
“I told Lady Colgrain how the role developed through the lockdown and how it also led me to paid employment with another charity.
“I explained that last year the charity needed us more than ever. Although we couldn’t run face-to-face events, I held raffles online and collected around £ 20,000.
“I told her I felt really lucky to be able to continue Julie’s legacy in this way.”
Ms Bank added a touch of pink to her outfit with her headwear, designed by breast cancer survivor and milliner Jo Knight of Joanne Elizabeth Millinery.
She continued, “The ribbon on the medal was also pink. I thought it was just perfect and so appropriate.
“I’ve loved pink since I was a little girl and it’s the color of the charity. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it.”
She then celebrated with a family meal and champagne at 81 Beach Street in Deal.
She’ll be attending the Queen’s Garden Party in 2022, but not before a fundraising trek through Jordan in Asia, with her best friend Jo Allen.
Read more about Kerry’s work at “Deal, Kent & Sussex Breast Cancer Now – The Research & Care Charity” on Facebook
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