A dedicated husband and wife team described as the ‘backbone’ of the RSPCA have been awarded an RSPCA Honour at a ceremony in London.
Edna and Eric Grover, from Dartford, received the Queen Victoria Gold award on Wednesday, 11th July at the event hosted by Alastair Stewart.
The RSPCA Honours, held annually, are an opportunity to recognise and honour people and organisations that help to make the lives of animals better; through kindness, courage, determination and innovation. Awards are given for bravery, outstanding service and to recognise exceptional contributions to animal welfare.
Usually the award is given to an individual but the pair – who have been married for 58 years – have worked so closely as a team an exception was made this year.
Edna and Eric Grover have led the North West Kent branch for 50 years and 45 years respectively.
98 year old Edna has been the branch president for many years, while Eric, 81, has been chair for 45 years and has also filled in as secretary and treasurer when needed – sometimes holding these roles simultaneously.
“Edna and Eric are the backbone of the Branch and have led it from strength to strength,” said Branch support specialist Becky Blackmore, who nominated the couple. “No one can remember them ever missing a single Branch meeting. Edna is a lifelong animal lover and vegetarian, she is always the first to volunteer, is up at the crack of dawn and is happy to get her hands dirty.
“Many thousands of unwanted, abused and abandoned animals have gone on to live happy lives thanks to the work done in the Branch area under their tenure.”
Eric is now working with the wider RSPCA so that his Branch can fund an Equine Rehoming Facility at Leybourne Animal Centre. As well as running the branch, Eric and Edna also set up two successful charity shops in the area in Dartford and Gravesend.
“It is exciting to receive such an honour. Edna and I are the first couple to receive the award, and I think this is recognition for all out work with the branch,” Eric said. “Edna and I were Mayor and Mayoress of Dartford in the 1960’s and Edna wanted to start running a coffee morning for the RSPCA because of her love for animals. This led to us joining the RSPCA committee and our involvement went from there.”
Edna is due to step down from the branch committee this year due to ill health, but is hoping to be able to continue as the branch president.
As well as giving up time to support the RSPCA, Eric is also involved as the Vice President of the Dartford local committee of Cancer Research UK.
“The RSPCA Honours is a fantastic event that the RSPCA is extremely proud of. The evening showcases the work of those who go the extra mile to show compassion and dedication to animals,” said Chris Wainwright, Deputy Executive. “There have been so many inspirational and heartwarming stories and we hope the awards have helped to highlight the positive power of animals and the impact they have on our lives.”