Robert Burns Humanitarian Award

Last updated: 10.30am, Wednesday 8th January 2014 by

Blanche Nicolson, our Practice Development Director, has been shortlisted for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. This award recognises those who have saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole through personal self-sacrifice, selfless service or 'hands-ons' charitable work. We certainly think Blanche fits the bill!

Blanche has been involved with Hansel throughout the 50 years since her parents founded the organisation to build a meaningful future for young people with learning disabilities, including Blanche's sister Lindy who lived with Down's Syndrome. She continued their humanitarian efforts, first as a volunteer 'Governor' and later as Director.

Blanche's efforts on behalf of people with disabilities span the entire spectrum from strategic to personal. She works tirelessly for people living with learning disabilities to achieve equality; to live full and meaningful lives; to participate fully in their community, and to have control of their own lives. She is a motivational leader, passing on her skills, knowledge and, most importantly, her ethos to colleagues and partners. And she keeps us all on our toes! But she also finds time for each client who wants a quiet chat, to reminisce or share their news.

Blanche said: “I am overwhelmed to be considered worthy of nomination for this award. All people should decide how they lead their lives. I have been privileged throughout my life to walk closely with many amazing people with learning difficulties, and their families, during a period of extraordinary change and opportunity. It is only through their success that I can be measured in any way.”

We think Blanche would be a deserving winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Awards but there are two other deserving finalists: Rab Wilson, a mental health nurse who campaigns for openness and accountability in the NHS, and Mick Jackson, who tackles economic injustice through the Wildhearts Foundation and Micro-Tyco. Robert Burns, a fearless campaigner for social justice, would applaud them all.