I’ve made about four attempts at writing this today and it’s proved surprisingly difficult. What, in the end, can you say about someone so amazing, hard working, caring and so utterly deserving of recognition? Nevertheless, I promised an update about something good and, finally and thankfully, here it is:
What a nice thing, to be sat on the tube with a secret excitement amongst the mid afternoon tourists.
Georgie, a new dress for the occasion. Me in the suit I wore for our wedding.
Westminster in the shadow of bright afternoon sun, high clouds tinted grey and us with an appointment to keep.
A little while ago, whilst Georgie toiled in the heat of the African summer, the government announced the commission of a new Operational Service Medal to honour those British people who had given their time to the efforts to beat Ebola in West Africa.
Yesterday, the first of those medals were awarded to a select group at a presentation in 10 Downing Street.
And, after her nine months of dedicated service, Georgie was selected to be one of those few.
She was one of just two recipients chosen to represent the International Medical Corps, the other being Sierra Leone Deputy Country Director Sam Grindley. They had been selected due to their length of service, their notable contributions and the glowing recommendations of their colleagues.
It was a fantastic moment.
I cannot express how pleased and proud I was to be able to be part of this occasion honouring my wife, these people and the incredible work that they have done – and continue to do – as part of the efforts to beat this disease. Of course, Georgie has never sought glory for her efforts, but as someone who has watched those efforts and the sacrifices she has made I have to say I felt this recognition was well deserved, to say the very least.
Even David Cameron stopped in his tracks when he heard of the length of Georgie and Sam’s service.
To be in a room filled with so many people who had given their time so selflessly in the most difficult conditions was quite humbling. But what an honour for Georgie, and what an incredible event to have been a part of. How great to be able to attend an occasion like this where you can look around you and see what is good and what is worth celebrating in the world and in this country. Cameron admitted that the world had responded too late to this crisis, but you could see that he was genuinely proud – and with just cause – to be in a room full of people that, when the response finally began, answered the call and gave their time and their skills.
It felt pretty good to be stood there with Georgie, to see her grin when they pinned that medal on her.
Pretty good indeed.