Chris Lamb, 42 from St Helens has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his chocolate orange appeal.
The award, for services to charity and the civil service lifeboat fund was announced in the New Year honours.
The movement began in 2008 after Chris’s son Elliott ,who was diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus, was in the hospital suffering with pneumonia.
As a gesture of thanks, Chris gifted the nurse a chocolate orange for looking after his son.
Elliott sadly passed away in 2010 aged four just before Christmas.
Ever since then, the small gesture of kindness has spiralled into an appeal that has donated more than 72,000 chocolate oranges across England, Scotland and Wales in Elliott’s memory.
Upon receiving news of the award, Chris said: “I couldn’t believe it. It’s bittersweet, because I wouldn’t be getting it if Elliott was still here.”
Created in Elliott’s memory, the appeal now has an abundance of groups and organisations involved, ranging from Prince’s Trust to Sea Cadets.
“Losing your child, it’s not natural. But the kindness of strangers helps me through,” added Chris.
The appeal, which was first aimed at nurses is now directed at anybody who makes a difference, such as ambulance crews and the fire service.
Chris added: “At first it was a nice surprise. Nurses and doctors at the hospital are there 24/7 and don’t get anything back, they can get a lot of abuse. Now they’re in tears some of them when we bring the oranges in, they appreciate it so much. It’s nice to appreciate people.”
Various locations across the country have lit their exteriors orange to keep Elliott’s memory alive. From Blackpool tower to the Millennium Bridge,
Chris thanked all of those involved in the appeal saying: “I couldn’t do it without them.”
The heartwarming story just goes to show what a small act of kindness can do at Christmas, and how important appreciating the services for just how hard they work is.