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BASW honours three members with lifetime awards

BASW’s AGM concluded with the award of Honorary Life Membership to three longstanding members for their dedication and contribution to BASW’s work over the past 40 years. Jacqui Moore, Val Macleod and Chris Perry, all founder members of BASW in 1971, were honoured for their active work for the Association.

BASW England manager Ruth Cartwright told the AGM that Jacqui Moore “has social work and BASW engraved on her heart”. Ms Cartwright described a visit to the BASW archive at Warwick University for evidence of Ms Moore’s influence on the Association. “The BASW records go back as far as 1970 but when, completely at random, I opened a box and found a letter from Jacqui, it occurred to me that quite possibly every box contained something from her, such is Jacqui’s dedication to both BASW and the profession. We are delighted to pay this tribute to her.”

Ms Moore described the award as “a great honour”. She told delegates: “I feel overwhelmed and privileged. Invited to convene a branch at one of the first BASW meetings. Many years ago I heard someone state the importance of the balance between participation, leadership and expertise. In term of participation, we get out what we put in, and I have got so much out of BASW – as a support network and a way of breaking our isolation; I particularly valued the support after being made redundant. As for expertise, a central concern for us all should be developing our own expertise regardless of the setting in which we work, and ensuring that we are able to provide the services people need.”

BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri presented Val Macleod with her award, describing her “vociferous” opposition to anti social behavior orders (ASBOs) and telling delegates: “Val is not someone who really likes fuss and ceremony, but it is so important to honour people’s contribution. I quickly realised after meeting Val that she was one of life’s true activists, which was one of many hats she was able to wear. I stayed at her house in York and had the pleasure of getting to know her, including her experience of practice in the USA. Val is steely and dogged and is legendary within BASW for holding the Association to account.”

A shocked Val Macleod the AGM: “The people and animals who have seen me through are my three cats and two adopted children – thank-you very much for allowing me to take this stand.”

Finally, Hilton Dawson, BASW’s chief executive, honoured Chris Perry for his commitment to BASW and social workers. “Chris is someone who has been not only a founder member of BASW but also a branch secretary of two predecessor organisations. Chris served on BASW Council and was vice chair of the Divisional Practice Committee. He has given a lifetime of service to the Association.”

Tribute was also paid to Elizabeth Brown, who died in February aged 80. Mr Dawson described Elizabeth as “an active and lifelong member of BASW, unafraid of asking challenging questions and a campaigner for professional recognition and the need to practitioners to reflect the nature of the communities they serve. Elizabeth worked for many London authorities, ending at chair of adoption agency for Redbridge. She kept up her involvement and commitment to BASW until her dying day.”