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Breast cancer fundraiser Kerry Banks from Deal collects BEM as total raised nears £250,000


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A breast cancer fundraiser who has raised almost £250,000 has dedicated her Queen's honour to her late friend who inspired her charity work.

Kerry Banks from Deal recieved her British Empire Medal at Chevening House in Sevenoaks on Tuesday, almost two years after being named in the Queen's New Year's Honours.

Breast cancer fundraiser Kerry Banks BEM with Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain Picture: Russell Harper
Breast cancer fundraiser Kerry Banks BEM with Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain Picture: Russell Harper
Breast cancer fundraiser Kerry Banks receives her BEM from Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain Picture: Russell Harper
Breast cancer fundraiser Kerry Banks receives her BEM from Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain Picture: Russell Harper

The medal recognising her services to breast cancer was aptly encased in a pink ribbon and presented by Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain.

It was in the presence of her husband Simon Banks, mum Linda Barnett, stepfather Godfrey Barnett and son Cofie Behan.

She told KentOnline: "I want to dedicate it to my friend Julie and to all of the other ladies and gentlemen who I have met on my journey that sadly aren't with us.

"I've met some incredible people."

The 48-year-old started fundraising for Breast Cancer Now in 2006 and is just £3,000 short of raising £250,000.

Kerry Banks BEM pictured with her family Picture: Russell Harper
Kerry Banks BEM pictured with her family Picture: Russell Harper
Kerry Banks with her late friend and inspiration Julie Mortimer
Kerry Banks with her late friend and inspiration Julie Mortimer

Her inspiration to start was her good friend Julie Mortimer, who died from the cancer four years later.

Since then, Mrs Banks has referred to her work as Julie’s Legacy and carries a personal letter written by her good friend with her wherever she goes.

The grandmother of two, who works for Martha Trust, organises two annual walks in the town; The Crocus Walk every spring and The Stepping Out Walk in October.

She also hosts smaller events and gives her time to deliver talks in schools plus teach people the importance of TLC - Touch Look Check.

Last month, she led three Wear It Pink events in two days at The Whitehouse salon, Coastguard pub and Mill Hill Co-op, raising nearly £1,200.

Kerry Banks BEM in the stocks raising awareness for Breast Cancer Month in October
Kerry Banks BEM in the stocks raising awareness for Breast Cancer Month in October

Mrs Banks continued: "It wan an incredible feeling. It was really worth the wait.

"But I don't do it for the recogntion, I do it to help save peoples' lives.

"I told Lady Colgrain how the role has grown through lockdown and how it's also led me into a paid job with another charity.

"I explained how last year the charity needed us more than ever. Although we couldn't do face to face events, I organised online raffles and raised nearly £20,000.

"I told her that I felt really fortunate to be able to continue Julie's legacy in this way."

Kerry Banks supported Co-op manager James Bridger and his team to Wear It Pink raising £500
Kerry Banks supported Co-op manager James Bridger and his team to Wear It Pink raising £500

Mrs Bank added a hint of pink to her outfit with her headwear, designed by a breast cancer survivor and milliner Jo Knight of Joanne Elizabeth Millinery.

She continued: "The ribbon on the medal was also pink. I thought it was just perfect and so apt.

"I've loved pink since I was a little girl as well as it being the colour of the charity. When I saw it I couldn't believe it."

She celebrated afterwards with family meal and champagne at 81 Beach Street in Deal.

She will attend the Queen's Garden Party in 2022, but not before a fundraising trek through Jordan in Asia, with best friend Jo Allen.

Kerry Banks BEM pictured with her family Picture: Russell Harper
Kerry Banks BEM pictured with her family Picture: Russell Harper

Find out more about Kerry's work at 'Deal, Kent & Sussex Breast Cancer Now- The Research & Care Charity' on Facebook

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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