Secretary and founding member of Northern Lights Children’s Charity receives MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018
We are delighted to announce that Alan Johnson, Secretary of Northern Lights, has been recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018 for his services to children with life limiting illnesses in the North West and North Wales.
Alan is Secretary of Northern Lights, a charity set up in 1987 in memory of his son Christopher, who lost his battle for life at the age of 5 after suffering with a brain tumour. Every December, the charity takes a group of 20 children with life limiting illnesses, aged between 6 and 11, on a short holiday to the Arctic Circle in Lapland to meet Father Christmas.
Alan has tirelessly fundraised for Northern Lights for over 30 years and has often been named the voice of Northern Lights as he is the first to be found with a microphone in his hand communicating with supporters at any fundraising event.
Investing in the Charity
His investment of time to the charity is amazing, he not only works directly with the committee of Northern Lights in his role as secretary but liaises with local authorities when official paperwork should be lodged with them for certain events, drums up support for the charity wherever he goes and in addition to all of this is also the Lapland trip coordinator. With long established relationships Alan works with hospitals and organisations each year to identify children able to make the trip to Lapland.
As coordinator, he is sensitive to the concerns of parents and the needs of vulnerable children and as a priority speaks to the parents to assure them of their children’s safety and build confidence in the charity. After 30 years of organising trips Alan manages the processes with precision ensuring insurance, communication and medical requirements are all in place to meet the needs. He is the operational coordinator when in Lapland which gives the volunteers and medical staff the time to be entirely focused on the children making them feel as special as possible.
Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
2015 saw the charity recognised for its work being presented with the Queen’s award for Voluntary Service and in 2017 a mile stone was reached for the charity, when they had managed to raise over £1M since its inception and had taken over 500 children to Lapland. 2017 was also a very special year for Alan as he was voted Champion of Champions and received an award to mark this event by Scottish Power and Trinity Group newspapers.
Karen Jones, MBE, Chairman of Northern Lights said, “We are all so proud of what has been achieved in Christopher’s memory, a little 5-year-old boy who lost his battle against a brain tumour, a life that was cut so short but one that so many other children have now benefited from, none of which would have been possible without the dedication from Alan, we are all very honoured to work with him.”
When notified of his nomination for an MBE Alan said “I cannot believe that someone like me could receive such an award. I am extremely honoured to receive this award but also very thankful to friends and family who have supported us over the last 31 years. Obviously, we are doing something right to still be here.”