Queen's Birthday Honours 2022: Lewes charity director awarded BEM

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A woman from Lewes has been awarded an BEM in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Caroline Croft, the director of the charity Patina Lewes, is receiving the honour for her services to the arts and young people in East Sussex.

Caroline said: “I was extremely surprised but very happy, I had no idea so it was a big surprise when I found out, but a really lovely surprise.

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“I feel like it should be an honour for everyone in our charity because I'm just one person. I’m surrounded by excellent people and it’s been going for 20 years now.

Caroline CroftCaroline Croft
Caroline Croft

“I’m the one who has custody of it at the moment and the pleasure of putting it all together every year. But there are many people involved who also deserve recognition.”

Patina Lewes (Parents and Teachers in the Arts) is a community art charity, which oversees the production of the annual Moving On Parade - which creatively marks the transition from primary to secondary school.

Caroline, 54, is responsible for raising funds, coordinating artists, promoting and advocating for the arts and supporting parents and teachers.

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She said: “It’s a wonderful project to be involved with, because it brings the arts and community together in celebration.

“I see how much people value this moment. I see how much the children love it and how much the community cherishes it as a local tradition. People come out in their thousands, people line the streets and it's an emotional moment for our community and it honours our local children.”

Since the project started in 2002, it has grown from 6 schools to 15 schools involved in this year’s event.

More than 8,000 young people have been able to mark the transition to secondary school through the Moving On Parade since its inception.

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Caroline continued: “It’s an extraordinary moment when the town stops and the children feel the eyes of their community on them wishing them a thousand good wishes for the future. It’s a very moving, meaningful event and I feel very privileged to be in the position of putting it together and making it happen for the children.”

To find out more about Patina click here