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Beyond The Value of Touch - Local Artist Receives Royal Award for Recognised Service


Local artist Wendy Daws has received a prestigious award from Buckingham Palace for her voluntary services to visually impaired people in North Kent.

Based in Rochester, Wendy Daws started as a volunteer for Kent Association for the Blind (KAB) in 2006. She then went on to establish and run two art groups for blind and partially sighted people in Medway and Gravesend.

Wendy was also involved in Rochester Cathedral’s research into a physical recreation of the Baptismal Fresco by Sergei Fyodorov; she was then commissioned to create the bronze installation now on permanent display at the Cathedral.

Wendy was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) from The Queen as part of the New Year’s Honours List for 2018.

The Honours System recognises people who have made achievements in public life or commit themselves to serving and helping people across the United Kingdom; whether by making life better for other people, or to be outstanding at what they do.

Wendy’s husband and The Dean from The Cathedral; a representative from KAB and various other people she has worked with all came together to put the application forward for her to receive the Royal Award back in 2015.

Wendy’s nomination was taken up by the honours committee, who then passed their recommendations to the Prime Minister and then on to The Queen, who awarded the honour.

When Wendy opened the letter informing her that the Prime Minister has advised The Queen to bestow the honour, she was said to be astonished.

The sentiment from Wendy herself is that not only is she looking forward to tell all those she has been working with, she would look to use the award to promote projects she will be involved in.

Current works include interpretation work of the Queen Victoria statue on display at Gravesend Market, a project to create works inspired by artefacts at the Guildhall Museum, and collaboration with The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge and Canterbury Cathedral as part of the Sensing Culture project, as well as her continued work to open the arts and heritage to blind and partially sighted visitors.

Wendy was also involved in establishing The Mess Room.

Supported by Involving Medway, The Mess Room is a creative, accessible, community space at Sun Pier House in Chatham, which hosts artist led projects in partnership with local communities and beyond.

Wendy has often said that art is for all, regardless of age, ability or background. With her on-going work with various abilities, various generations and sectors, and with her involvement within community she continues to prove this.

Congratulations to Wendy Daws for such a well-deserved honour.



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