Sutton optician receives national honour
January 30, 2018
A charitable businessman from Sutton in Ashfield has been recognised with a national honour after giving his time and efforts freely to help people in the local community and beyond for more than two decades.
Nigel Davidson, store director at Specsavers in the Idlewells Shopping Centre, has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to volunteering and charitable giving. He was one of 36 medallists honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 25, at the Palace of Westminster. Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’, and can use the initials BCA after their name.
The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
‘I am surprised and delighted to receive this honour and I would like to thank the BCA, my work team, colleagues, family and friends for all their help and support,’ says Nigel. ‘My attitude has always been to try and make a difference – even in a small way – where I can. Without the help of those around me, I wouldn’t be able to do this.’
Nigel has been instrumental in raising thousands of pounds over the years for a myriad of different charitable causes, including the British Heart Foundation, the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB), the John Eastwood Hospice, Hearing Dogs, road safety charity Brake, the Ashanti Development and Children in Need.
He has been involved with the relaunch of the local food bank and completed the Three Peaks Challenge, raising funds for Sightsavers International and has undertaken sponsored bike rides to raise money for the likes of Action Medical Research, which helps premature babies.
Nigel started the charity 'Ashfield Eyecare Services' in 2014 with the help of a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, delivering free eye tests and glasses to the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers in the Sutton in Ashfield area.
Beyond this, Nigel and his team have developed strong relationships with the Sutton Community Academy school over the past eight years. The relationship began with the business accepting work placement students and since then several initiatives have been taken up, including a collaborative project with the store sponsoring the annual 'Young Achiever in the Community' Awards.
Nigel is a past governor of Sutton Community Academy (2013-2016) and has also sat on the board of its Further Education (2015-2017) in a voluntary capacity. Keen to engage and reach out to young people, he has provided mock interviews for Year 11 students over the years.
His work also extends overseas, and he joined expeditions to Ghana to provide eyecare to an impoverished area of the Ashanti in 2013 and again in 2015. On each occasion, Nigel sponsored practice team members to come along and help. During the most recent trip, the group carried out more than 1,300 eye tests in six days and handed out more than 4,500 pairs of donated spectacles.
Nathan Rous, from BCA sponsor Nathan Rous PR, says: ‘It was an absolute pleasure to be involved with the British Citizen awards and to hear so many inspirational stories such as Nigel’s. The work he does truly changes lives for the better and he thoroughly deserves this recognition.’