Sylvia Gallimore Receives a British Empire Medal Following 50 Years of Charity, Community and Voluntary Work  

Sylvia Gallimore

Sylvia Gallimore, a British national now based in San Miguel De Salinas, Alicante, has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) for ‘Services to charity and community’, as part of the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours list, published on 17th June. 

His Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said: “Sylvia has dedicated her life to helping others. Her significant contributions for over 50 years of community and voluntary work have improved the lives of countless individuals from her native Bristol to Southern Spain. She has worked tirelessly and given generously to numerous causes, including helping vulnerable young people, the visually impaired, homeless people and supporting animal welfare. This Honour represents a lifetime of service and is very much deserved.” 

Sylvia Gallimore said: “I cannot say how proud and honoured I am to receive the British Empire Medal from His Majesty. I was rather thrown into the world of the poorly sighted when my son lost his sight in 1996. Since then, I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful visually impaired people and tried to enhance their lives as best I could. I could not have done this alone and believe there are others that deserve the BEM more than I do.” 

Sylvia first became involved in charity work through the Horfield Prison in Bristol, where she taught literacy skills to help improve inmates’ future employment prospects. She did this alongside running a canteen for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, fundraising for a pre-school and running an animal rescue and rehousing project. In 1996, Sylvia shifted her focus to the visually impaired community in Bristol, fundraising for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and for Avon Sports and Leisure, to give young visually impaired Bristolians the opportunity to expand their horizons.  

Sylvia played a crucial role in establishing the charity Have Stick Will Travel, founded in 2002 by her son Daniel Gallimore, who lost his sight at the age of 21. Together with Daniel, she has organised numerous fund-raising initiatives to procure life-changing technology for visually impaired people to become more independent in their homes and supported several visually impaired sports teams. 

More recently, since being based in San Miguel De Salinas, Sylvia has supported the Help at Home charity, which helps people with mobility or health issues attend medical appointments or run errands. She’s also written a book called ‘Sleeping Rough’ to raise money for the homeless charity Shelter.