Charity Heads Receive Honors For Helping Britons Overseas

By Editorial 02 January, 2014

The heads of two charities that help Britons in distress abroad have been awarded New Year honors.

Matthew Searle, who is Chief Executive of the Lucie Blackman Trust: Missing Abroad, received an MBE in recognition of his work in building up the charity into what the Foreign Office described as a "leading service" providing help to families facing tragedies or emergencies abroad. The charity was set up by the father of Lucie Blackman, a British woman who went missing while working in Tokyo in 2000 and who was subsequently found to have been murdered. The Trust now receives around 3,000 enquiries a year about missing people, and contributes to the resolution of about 85 percent of these cases.

The organization also has an assistance department dealing with situations where a British National is in crisis or has become a victim of crime overseas. The trust's partners include air ambulance and medical repatriation services, airlines, dive teams, international funeral directors, legal advisors, refuges and hostels, religious advisors from all faiths, translators and travel companies.

Searle said he was "both grateful and humbled" to have received the award, adding: "I must acknowledge the support of my team, and the FCO, whose combined belief in both me and the Trust means we will be able to continue to help families in desperate need during the most traumatic times."

Meanwhile, the Director Hostage UK, Rachel Briggs, was awarded an OBE for services to hostages and to the families of victims kidnapped overseas. The charity was founded by former Middle East hostage Terry Waite, and it provides specialist services and support to hostages and their families during and after a kidnap. It also offers advice and education for organizations facing a kidnap risk, and produces research and reports to campaign for improved government and organizational policy and practice around kidnapping incidents.

Briggs that the award was a "huge honor," and she praised the charity's team for giving their time freely "but with 100 percent commitment, commitment, professionalism and compassion."

Tags: United Kingdom | Expats | Welfare |


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