What does the Royal Humane Society do ?
We are a bravery awards organisation. We give medals and certificates to people who have put their own lives at risk to save - or attempt to save - someone else.
How often do you give awards?
About ten times a year. We are one of the few organisations in this field making awards throughout the year and not just annually.
Who decides who wins an award?
A Committee of 14 people from a variety of professional backgrounds. As many as possible attend the roughly monthly meetings to discuss the nominations that have been put forward.
What exactly are the different medals and certificates?
Our regular bravery awards are:
There are also two awards where no personal risk is involved:
And two annual awards for existing medal winners: Stanhope Medal is awarded on an international basis to the person the Committee considers to have shown the most outstanding courage, and the Police Medal goes to the bravest police officer of the year. Both are announced in January.
How do you decide which award to make?
The two crucial factors are the degree of risk and the duration of the rescue (or rescue attempt). Silver medals are awarded to people who have repeatedly put themselves at risk at the scene of an incident.
Do you give financial rewards as well?
No, we don't. Small amounts of money were occasionally paid right up until the early years of the 20th century, but these have now ceased. For cases where an act of heroism has led to real financial hardship, please contact the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust.
Can I nominate someone for an award?
Yes. We do ask for a reliable witness statement - preferably from the police or emergency services. Otherwise, all you need to do is complete a nomination form.
How old is the Society?
We have a long history going back more than 200 years to 1774 when two doctors, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan, founded the Society in London. It was called The Institution for affording immediate Relief to Persons apparently dead, from drowning and was originally a medical foundation to promote the use of resuscitation - then a very new and controversial technique for the saving of life.
Do you help animals in distress?
This is a common misconception, but no, we don't!