Haywards Heath RBL volunteer to receive prestigious award

JPCT 010213  Rededication of war memorial in Western Road cemetery, Haywards Heath. Daniel Kington. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130102161047
JPCT 010213 Rededication of war memorial in Western Road cemetery, Haywards Heath. Daniel Kington. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130102161047

A Royal British Legion volunteer will receive a prestigious award for his dedication and service to veterans and their dependents across Mid-Sussex.

Daniel Kington, 48, from Haywards Heath, has been a volunteer with the Legion’s Haywards Heath branch since 2002 and has been recognised for his work, with the award of the Order of Mercy medal.

Mr Kington was nominated by officers of his local branch for his service as a welfare caseworker and home visitor.

He will receive his award from the League of Mercy, at the Mansion House, London, in July, and will be accompanied by his father, who is also a long-standing charity volunteer.

He said he was delighted to receive the award.

“At first I thought it was a prank and after I’d checked was deeply moved to think that friends and colleagues felt strongly enough to go to the trouble of securing this award.

“I am just a small cog in a very big machine when all’s said and done and wish to thank all those people who have helped, encouraged and supported me in this work.”

Up to thirty people nationwide who have given seven or more years of outstanding service are chosen annually to receive the League’s prestigious award for distinguished voluntary services, the Order of Mercy.

Since 2008, Mr Kington has been the branch chairman, organising the veterans’ parade last September.

He lead successful campaigns to honour the town’s only Victoria Cross hero sergeant Arthur Knight and restored a forgotten Great War memorial in the town’s cemetery.

He also organised the Poppy Appeal for the town in 2009-10.

The timing of the award carries particular poignancy for Daniel, following the recent tragic death in Bristol of Britain’s longest serving poppy seller, Olive Cooke, at the age of 92. It is claimed she was hounded to her death by persistent charity fundraising agents and cold callers.

Daniel grew up in Bristol and knew Mrs Cooke.

He said his thoughts will be with Mrs Cooke and her family when he receives the award.