UK Astronomy charity founder honoured with the British Citizen Award at the Palace of Westminster

Tim Vincent, Ross Hockham BCAe and Dame Mary Perkins, Founder, Specsavers

Despite the pandemic in 2020, The British Citizen Award continued to recognise and Honour individuals from around the UK that are making a difference in their communities and society.  The July 2021 Medalists were presented today with their BCA Medal and Certificate of Honour at a prestigious event at the Palace of Westminster.  Ross Hockham from Buckinghamshire is one of 26 Medalists and has been recognised for Services to Volunteering & Charitable Giving with a BCAv.

The British Citizen Award, in partnership with One Stop, is now in its sixth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country.

Ross Hockham BCAe, was presented with their Medal of Honour from Founder of Specsavers and BCA Patron, Dame Mary Perkins.

Despite being a full-time London Firefighter, Ross also dedicates his time to helping others in the community. During days off he works at the local school, helping disadvantaged children, mentoring them to ensure that they get the best from their education.

In 2014, knowing nothing about Astronomy, Ross decided to set up a charity ‘UK Astronomy’. He started visiting schools and community groups and working with local councils to inspire thousands of people to look up in wonder at our skies. All of Ross’s spare time is spent checking night sky guides and creating activity sheets for kids, recording podcasts and running the monthly photo competition. Ross feels astronomy has no barriers and is a great way of bringing people together from all races, genders and ages.

Ross has hosted sessions for local care homes, helping those with dementia and also supports local charities by using astronomy as a way to draw people to their events. Established in 2014, interest has grown rapidly, and he is now running events across the UK, working alongside the National Trust, schools, stately homes, care homes and local community interest groups. During the pandemic, the online membership grew from 6,000 to 20,000 members.

“Each time a new group of medalists are selected it reminds us of how great the people of this nation are. We serve many communities up and down the country through the One Stop convenience stores, and these particular individuals being recognised now, especially at this time of extraordinary circumstance, reflects all that is good about community spirit. It’s a privilege to play a small part in helping them to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all 26 honourees”, said Jonny Mcquarrie, from BCA partner One Stop.

All July 2021 Medalists had a memorable day that they will never forget, which is fitting recognition for their amazing contribution to society. The event was hosted by TV’s Tim Vincent, with BCA Patron Dame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers in attendance. Medals were presented by senior figures from the sponsor community which includes Places for People, Objective HR, Big Bus London and alongside Specsavers and One Stop.

Each Medal of Honour bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and are presented to only a small number of exceptional individuals twice yearly. The British Citizen Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday people for exceptional endeavor and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.

Following the ceremony, Ross Hockham BCAe, founder of UK Astronomy, said:

“Today we arrived at parliament along with a host of others to receive a medal and certificate for services to education! I was truly humbled to have been nominated and chosen to receive a British Citizens Award, something I didn’t even know about until I received an email a couple of months ago. My wife and friend had nominated me secretly, today I realised that thanks to all those that have supported us, believed in us and volunteered that we HAVE made a difference to not only our local communities but hopefully across the UK. So a MASSIVE thank you to you all, and please continue to help inspire and look up in wonder….”