Dementia student honoured at the Palace of Westminster

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Nicolas Kee Mew stands in front of the River Thames, London holding his medal

An MSc Dementia Studies student, who balanced his studies with a full-time job as a care home manager while also raising thousands of pounds for charity, has been recognised with a prestigious award.

Nicolas Kee Mew received the British Citizen Award (BCA) for Services to Volunteering & Charitable Giving at the Palace of Westminster – one of only 25 individuals to be recognised for their extraordinary endeavours

Originally from Mauritius, Nicolas has worked in social care and care of the elderly for the last 16 years, beginning his career as a cleaner in a care home in 2015 before becoming the youngest UK care home manager.

TV presenter Naga Munchetty, student Nicolas Kee Mew BCAv, and Tom Redman, Big Bus London

TV presenter Naga Munchetty, Nicoias and Tom Redman, General Manager of Big Bus Tours

Reacting to his award, Nicolas, who is based in Essex, said: “I am overwhelmed and hugely honoured. I was not expecting it and I feel really proud to be among those recognised and to also be representing my home country of Mauritius.

“My charity work has given me great memories and allowed me to meet new people. I think I’m most proud of running the marathon during the first lockdown in 2020, virtually, for Alzheimer’s Research UK. I was determined to do it and didn’t want to let the charity down.

“I am looking forward to celebrating with my partner and close friends and also the residents and staff at work, who are hosting a party for me.”

Charity work

Nicolas has run nine marathons for Alzheimer’s Research and Alzheimer’s Society and raised £5,000 for Age UK. He is a big advocate for LGBTQ and in 2014, appeared in the skills for care campaign to encourage young people to join the care sector and on the ‘Care for others’ campaign by the Department of Health and Social Care to share experiences during the pandemic. He is also the youngest trustee of Age UK Enfield and is a volunteer for the China Exchange Charity. He has won awards in sector specific areas such as National Dementia Inspiring Leader in 2017 and the Dementia Care Awards in 2019. Nicolas has also won praise for creating various virtual community groups, one being the Hainault, Barkingside & Chigwell community Group and also a dementia group on Facebook for support for families and friends of those living with dementia. 

Nicolas’s passion for caring for those living with dementia was originally sparked after his grandfather become ill in 2013.

Nicolas said: “There was no diagnosis for Alzheimer’s at that time in Mauritius – I was the first one who recognised he was not the same.

“That experience drove me to want to make a positive impact for dementia care in the UK and also in Mauritius. I started studying my Masters in 2019, just when the pandemic started. Many people told me not to do it as they were worried I would not be able to manage work as a care home manager alongside my studies. However, I persevered, and my tutors were very supportive and helped me a lot and I also had great support from Student Learning Services.

“My passion for dementia and to make a difference in people’s lives continues to motivate me. In the future, perhaps I will write a book or go into dementia consultancy.”

Louise McCabe, Senior Lecturer in Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling, said: “We are extremely proud of Nicolas and all that he has achieved. He is a great asset to the industry and his enthusiasm, passion and drive to make life better for others is hugely admirable.

“On behalf of the University and his fellow students, I’d like to congratulate Nicolas and wish him every success in the future.”

Nicolas will graduate in November and hopes to pursue a PhD in Dementia at Stirling.

Exceptional individuals

The British Citizen Award in partnership with One Stop, is now in its eighth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities, charities, and individual causes.

Nicolas was presented with a Medal of Honour - photographed here

Nicolas was presented with his Medal of Honour on Thursday 7 July 

Nicolas was presented with his Medal of Honour on Thursday 7 July by Tom Redman, General Manager from long-term BCA Supporters Big Bus Tours who said, “Nicolas is the epitome of why Great Britain is ‘great.’ His tireless and selfless efforts to give something back to his community is simply fantastic and I feel incredibly honoured to have presented him with his BCA Medal of Honour.

“The work all the recipients do will be passed down through generations and for that they should feel incredibly proud of what they have achieved. The BCA’s are an incredible way of recognising outstanding achievements – and Nicolas is a shining examples of why the BCA’s exists. A huge congratulations and thank you from myself and everyone at Big Bus Tours for all you do.”

The Medal presentation was hosted by TV and Radio presenter Naga Munchetty, and attended by BCA Patron The Rt Hon, Lord Dholakia. Medallists were then treated to an Open Top Lap of Honour tour taking in some of the Capital’s iconic landmarks, before going on to a post-event drinks reception and Certificate Presentation at Church House, Westminster.

In October, Nicolas will run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in Hyde Park for Alzheimer's Research UK. His JustGiving page can be found here.