ChildLine supporter Tom Toumazis awarded MBE in Queen’s Honours

Chair of the ChildLine board awarded MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours list

Tom Toumazis is one of the thousands of exceptional volunteers all dedicated to helping us fight for every childhood. Now his tireless work to help us has been recognised with an Honour from the Queen, who has awarded him an MBE.

Tom Toumazis

Tom Toumazis has helped raise more than £8 million for our charity. He launched the ChildLine 20 fundraising Board in January 2005 and has been the Founding Chair of the ChildLine Board since 2010, leading a team of senior volunteers and launching highly successful fundraising initiatives such as the monthly Monday Movie Club and The annual ChildLine Ball. Here he tells us about the moment he received his award, and why the efforts to help protect children and young people must never stop.


On Her Majesty's Service

Chris, my son, was at the front door when the post arrived. He picked up the mail and, aside from the usual suspects of bills and not much else, passed me a plain, white envelope. But, on closer inspection, I saw that 'On Her Majesty's Service' was printed on the front. I thought it must be a hoax and, had I known the contents of the letter, I might have been a little more careful in opening it!

What was inside nearly knocked me off of my feet; I had been awarded an MBE as recognition of my fundraising efforts for ChildLine.

I can't explain how excited and humbled I felt. So many thoughts rushed through my mind from: 'How on earth can I be worthy', to: 'What's an MBE?', through to: 'What should I wear? Can I take my wife and the kids?', then: 'What do you mean I can't tell anyone?' and, lastly; 'I wish my dad was still around to hear the news'. All of these thoughts rushed through my mind in a split second.

"The thing that continues to inspires me is how good, caring and generous people are."

In the subsequent weeks, I was left with a kind of permanent glow. Nothing could derail my joy and happiness – apart from one terrifying moment when I thought I had ticked the wrong box rejecting, instead of accepting, the MBE. Thankfully, I didn't decline the Honour.

So how does something like this happen? I still don't know. I didn't expect it, and it came as a complete bombshell. I never expected it, and I know so many others whose tireless work easily matches my own, but I'm incredibly grateful for the recognition.

I am thrilled that I've been awarded this Honour, but my work has all been part of a much greater team effort. The money we've raised and the businesses we've brought closer to ChildLine and the NSPCC is all about a team effort. It's down to a number of great people sitting around a table hatching up crazy ideas (and sometimes very good ones!) on how to make things happen. Very busy, very experienced people in their field. People who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and help others. That's the ChildLine Board for you in a nutshell and the characteristics of every single one of the Board members, past and present.

"There is still a lot of work to be done"

Being passionate about a charity creeps up on you. You do a bit, you come back again for another year and, before you know it, years have passed and you're still involved, still determined to help the cause however you can. You ask everyone you know to get involved, to help you carry on the work you feel so deeply about. The thing that continues to inspires me is how good, caring and generous people are. People from all walks of life. To all of them, thank you!

But there is still a lot of work to be done. ChildLine is 30 next year, and their work is as important today as it was when Dame Esther Rantzen launched the groundbreaking initiative all those years ago.

It's vital that we don't rest on our laurels. We have to keep on protecting and supporting our children. We have to keep on helping in whatever way we can. We have to do all of this, because every childhood is worth fighting for.

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