Wetherby Young Offenders prison manager Kerry Hirst is celebrating being presented with a prestigious award by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.
Kerry received the award from the Butler Trust, which has The Princess Royal as its patron, at a ceremony in St James’s Palace last week. Her award was one of just 11 granted from over 350 nominations across Britain.
Now in their 33rd year, the Butler Trust annual awards recognise outstanding service by staff and volunteers working in UK prisons, probation, and youth justice settings.
Speaking about Kerry Hirst, the Chair of the Butler Trust’s independent awarding panel, Sir Michael Harrison said: “Kerry has had a major impact across Yorkshire on suicide and self harm, as well as violence towards both prisoners and staff.
“Her passion to achieve change has led to outstanding guidance, training, and support being given to thousands of frontline staff. The results of her efforts have already transformed very many lives.”
The Secretary of State for Justice, Rt. Hon. David Gauke MP, and Prisons and Probation Minister, Rory Stewart MP, were among the audience of over 200 there to honour this year’s winners.
After the presentations, The Princess talked to Kerry Hirst and her fellow winners over afternoon tea in the Palace State Rooms.
Simon Shepherd, Director of the Trust, said: “It’s easy to forget that there’s an unsung army of people behind the criminal justice headlines.
“Every day, these hidden heroes do remarkable and inspiring work on behalf of the public. Our winners show the very best of this sector – and that’s very good indeed.”
Rory Stewart, Prisons and Probation Minister, said: “I am very proud to see the exceptional work of our prison and probation staff recognised at today’s ceremony.
“Their dedication to a profession that at times can be both challenging and rewarding has helped many people turn their lives around.”
“This vital work – often hidden from view – not only transforms lives, it also benefits society, resulting in fewer victims and safer streets.
“I would like to congratulate all the winners on this important and impressive mark of recognition.”