Excellence not Empire

Updated: Aug 3

In 2014, I was awarded an MBE.

To know my work with charities and young people was recognised at the highest levels was something that gave me such a buzz.


MBE stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire. When I received the letter to say I was being considered, there was both excitement but also conflict. I have friends who I deeply admire who have always said that, on principle, they wouldn't accept an honour. The word Empire is typically something that can really spark the greatest controversy.


I love that those who give to their community can be recognised in such an impactful way. Often by having an honour, you're able to do even more to positively change the lives of others. I feel lucky and privileged and grateful.


In coaching, I often ask people to complete the sentence, 'it would be even better if...' and for me, this applies to the honour. It would be even better if we could switch the word Empire for the word Excellence.


So, when Simon Blake OBE got in touch to ask if I would be a counter signatory on a letter to the Government asking for the switch, I immediately said yes. I am the kind of person who is always wanting to make the world a better place, always wanting to create a country where everyone feels a sense of belonging. The word Empire is anachronistic and a distraction from something that should be celebrated. The word Excellence would be so much better.


I really believe making this small change would make a big difference. I signed this letter with a number of other incredible leaders from the social sector not because I want to snub the honour, but because I think we should always be open to making things better. We will of course remember that the E once stood for Empire, but we can also remember why it was changed. ❤️


If you have the magic three letters after your name (CBE, OBE, MBE) and you would like to join us, leave your details on Simon's blog and you too can be added to the signatories.


PS You have to ignore the fact I didn't actually proof read my name!! I only noticed it after it had gone to print 😆 Typical huh...


As always, thanks for reading!


Gary 😊

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