'Dedicated' former trainer at Banbury-based charity Adoption UK presented BEM

Adoption UK celebrated one of its most dedicated trainers as they were presented with a British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire on Monday.

Bob Barnes, who was nominated for the BEM in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to adoption, has trained hundreds of adoptive parents and professional staff over 18 years.

(L-R) Cadet Lavinia Bryan, Bob Barnes, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson and Sue Armstrong Brown

(L-R) Cadet Lavinia Bryan, Bob Barnes, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson and Sue Armstrong Brown

He was joined at the ceremony at the charity’s Vantage Business Park base by his wife, Wyn, and their adopted son, Nicolas, as well as colleagues, past and present.

“I’m still so surprised to receive this award and to have it presented in Banbury means so much to me as everyone here deserves the praise,” he said.

Bob lives near Carlisle so ordinarily he would have been presented with the BEM by Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Claire Hensman.

But in a break from protocol, Mrs Hensman and Oxfordshire’s Tim Stevenson agreed to Bob’s request to be presented with the BEM at AUK’s HQ, in recognition of what he described as the ‘importance of this place to me and my work’.

Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson presents Bob Barnes with his British Empire Medal

Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson presents Bob Barnes with his British Empire Medal

AUK chief executive, Sue Armstrong Brown, said: “Every family we’ve helped, and every policy concession we’ve won, boils down to Bob, in a room, sharing his insight and expertise with people who need him, and who leave the room feeling stronger, because he gave them his time.

“Bob’s dedication and quiet passion are at the heart of Adoption UK.”

Guests at the presentation included Adoption UK’s first director Philly Morrall, who set up the charity’s first office, which was in Northamptonshire. Former director Hugh Thornbery and

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis also paid tribute to Bob.

(L-R) Nicolas, Wyn and Bob Barnes with Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson

(L-R) Nicolas, Wyn and Bob Barnes with Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson

Last week was National Adoption Week and the charity was at the forefront of encouraging would-be adopters to take the plunge.

Dr Armstrong Brown said it was too early to tell how many more adoptive parents signed up because of the week, but was pleased with the heightened awareness.

To find out more, email Adoption UK at membership@adoptionuk.org.uk or call 01295 752240.