Royal Humane Society

A single act of humanity becomes an inspiration

We make awards for the saving of human life and for the restoration of life by resuscitation

Foreword by HRH Princess Alexandra

2017 was once again a record year for the Society, with 691 awards made to people whose actions saved 325 lives. There is a story behind every one of those awards, often about bravery and sacrifice, but always about selflessness. Each award represents an act of humanity towards a fellow human being who is usually a stranger. It is refreshing to see an increasing awareness of the work that the Society does, and that can only grow as we face ever more threats from terrorism, crime and mental health issues. The widespread improvement in first aid education has had a significant impact on the number of lives saved; it has given people the knowledge and confidence to get involved when faced with a life or death situation, and this is clearly reflected in this year’s record figures. Meeting these modest but always courageous awardees is very rewarding for me and I cherish my involvement with the Society.

It remains for me to thank all of you who continue to support the Royal Humane Society in carrying out its work, and I wish the Society every success in the coming year.

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy KG GCVO

Photo: Hugo Burnand

About Us

The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and also for the restoration of life by resuscitation.

Awards may be granted to those who have put their own lives at risk to save or attempt to save someone else. The awards granted for these acts of bravery include bronze, silver and gold medals and testimonials on vellum or parchment.

The Society was founded in London in 1774 by two eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan, who were keen to promote techniques of resuscitation. It became apparent that people were putting their own lives in danger rescuing others and awards were given in recognition of these acts of bravery. This remains the purpose of the society today.

Since its foundation the Royal Humane Society committee has reviewed over 88,000 cases and made well over 200,000 awards.