John Joe Heuerman: Schoolboy Jonjo awarded British Empire Medal for cancer fundraising

Britain’s New Year’s Honour list 2016 sees a total of 1,196 people receive an award, more than three-quarters of whom are recognised for community work, either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

Among them is Jonjo Heuerman, who, at 13, is the youngest recipient on this list and receives the British Empire Medal (BEM) after raising £250,000 (€340,000) for the Bobby Moore Fund at Cancer Research UK.

A keen West Ham United and England fan, Jonjo was inspired to raise funds after his grandmother Lyn died from bowel cancer in February 2009, aged 60.

His mother Donna said: “An award was mentioned ages ago and to know he was even being considered was special in itself. But then we didn’t hear much more until the beginning of November when a very official looking letter arrived from the Cabinet Office.

“We had a quick peek, realised what it was and were pretty choked. When Jon got home from school, he looked at it but didn’t understand at first.

“And then the penny dropped. The first thing he said was, ‘Why?’. But then the excitement kicked in. He was just so proud he wanted to shout it from the hilltops.”

The hardest part was keeping the news from his grandfather Brinsley, she added. “He and Jon are very close and he was busting a gut to tell him,” she said.

“We’re all incredibly proud of him but his nan, who was the inspiration for all this, would have been so thrilled for him. She was a bit of a matriarch, like Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders – fiercely proud of her family. She would have been doing cartwheels.”

Christopher B. Taub

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