29 December 2023

It is ‘unbelievable’ to receive British Empire Medal, says fundraising teenager

29 December 2023

A teenager who has raised about £75,000 for 18 charities said it feels “unbelievable” to be awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours list.

Louis Johnson, 17, has been fundraising for a range of good causes in Wolverhampton, his home town, since he was 11 and has received his medal for services to his community.

He personally raised £20,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and has received numerous awards for his fundraising efforts, including the Midlands Air Ambulance young fundraiser of the year title in 2017.

He told the PA news agency: “I couldn’t believe it, I really couldn’t. It set in once I saw the letters and the emails and stuff and it’s just unbelievable.

“It all started when I was very, very little doing Barnardo’s walks with my mum that she used to set up and then it’s just expanded from there, from me wanting to do the annual memory walks for a hospice that my nan was in, to going to 18 different charities and raising about £75,000 in total.

“I didn’t think I’d be where I am at at the moment. I’ve from a young age been doing my fundraising but over the years it’s exploded, it’s got bigger and bigger, more money and, yeah.”

On how his friends will react to his BEM, he said: “I think they’ll be proud of me, they know what I do and they are supportive of it.”

In the year ahead, he said he plans to continue fundraising, “raising more money, making a bigger difference”.

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