Policeman’s award for helping kids

PC Andy Wright picking up his British Empire Medal with Peter Hodkinson
PC Andy Wright picking up his British Empire Medal with Peter Hodkinson

A POLICE officer’s work getting hundreds of children off the streets has been rewarded with one of Britain’s most prestigious civilian honours.

PC Andy Wright, who runs the Nowt2Do scheme based at Fred Longworth High School, was given the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester at a ceremony.

Created in 2009, the scheme offers a huge range of free activities to children and teenagers across Wigan, with classes and sessions in everything from sports and dance to music and bricklaying.

Nowt2Do has since been a spectacular success with events including a trip to a Buckingham Palace garden party to receive the Queen’s Award, known as the MBE for volunteers, and putting on dance performances during the Olympic Games last year.

Now Astley officer PC Wright’s efforts in setting up the scheme have been rewarded with the medal, which is known as the People’s Award and was re-introduced last year as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

PC Wright, 43, said: “I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to receive the award. It’s the only one which is actually personalised, so the medal has my name on it.

“We were concerned that facilities in Wigan were mainly used by children whose parents were prepared to pay for travel and invest in them, so excluded those who most needed the stable activities.

“We also wanted to keep young people off the streets and reduce anti-social behaviour.”

In addition to his work for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) based at the Tyldesley school, PC Wright also puts in hours of volunteering each week to help make Nowt2Do a success.

He was nominated for his award by Fred Longworth deputy head Peter Hodkinson for his services to children and young people in the borough and presented with the medal at Bolton Town Hall in a ceremony also attended by the Mayor of Wigan, Coun Billy Rotherham.

Nowt2Do, which started as a 10-week pilot scheme, now offers Wiganers aged between 10 and 18 activities ranging from learning to fly model planes and helicopters to trying out sports including badminton, water polo or boxing and appearing in a rock band or samba group.

The British Empire Medal was originally introduced in 1922 to replace an older award, and is given out for civil or military service which is worthy of recognition by the crown.