Julie Kent, the professional musician and former teacher and housemistress at Dean Close School is one of 1,069 recipients who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists for their outstanding service to their community.
Julie became involved in charity work in 1994 after she lost their first daughter Emily at just three years old to a brain tumour. Along with her husband Bernard, she set up The Emily Kent Charitable Trust to raise money for anaesthetic equipment for the scanner at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. The charity continued to raise thousands of pounds to buy equipment for children with cancer in Gloucestershire, donating £50,000 to the Pied Piper Appeal for the new children’s hospital which is now home to the Emily Kent Unit. It also raised £50k for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where the Day Care Unit was named after Emily until recently.
After closing the Emily Kent Charitable Trust, Julie moved on to raise money for charities including Clic Sargent and the Teenage Cancer Trust. In 2014 she joined the Pied Piper Appeal where she is now the Vice Chair; she is also a Trustee for Goals Beyond Grass and a Junior Warden at the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire.
In 2020 Julie joined Cheltenham Open Door as Chair and is spearheading the charity through one of its most challenging years to date with her trademark energy and good cheer.
Sara Reader, the Co-ordinator at Open Door first met Julie when she brought donations from the pupils at Dean Close for guests. “She has always been involved with charities that make a direct difference in people’s lives and she never switches off!” says Sara. “She works so hard and makes so much happen; we are not surprised she’s now an MBE and we are so proud of her!”
Communications Officer Rosie Radford agrees the honour is richly deserved. “Julie is such a bundle of happy energy, always armed with a new plan to move our charity forward,” she says. “She is a big presence in the lives of various charities and we couldn’t do it without her get up and go! Congratulations, Julie, and thank you for everything you do!”
For Julie, receiving the honour has been a joyful but also an emotional experience. “It has brought back the reasons why I started fundraising. I do think a positive can come out of a negative and that’s why we started the Emily Kent Trust all those years ago,” she says.
“I was informed in June when the Birthday Honours Lists are normally released but wasn’t allowed to say anything until now.” Since the announcement, Julie has been inundated with messages of congratulations. “I’m still getting used to being an MBE!”!” she says. “Not bad for a girl brought up in a terraced house in Gloucester!”
Read more about Julie on her website www.juliekentmbe.com