A leadership coach and former army officer has been presented with a British Citizen Award at the Palace of Westminster, in recognition of his charitable work, which he began in memory of his wife.

Neil Jurd OBE, who lives in Kendal, founded the Michelle Jurd Trust in memory of his wife who died in a road accident in 2009.

The trust has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities local schools and causes, including funding the personal development of young people through adventure training, and providing funding for Carlisle Youth Zone and Grasmere School Band.

British Citizen Awards are made twice annually and honour everyday people for exceptional endeavour and Mr Jurd was among the winners from 2020 who received a Certificate of Honour in Westminster in a ceremony which was delayed by the pandemic.

He has also received the British Citizens Award Medal of Honour bearing the words ‘For the Good of the Country.’

The event was hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt, with BCA Patron Lord Dholakia in attendance.

A former lieutenant colonel, Mr Jurd served 20 years in the British Army including tours in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Iraq where he led Gurkha soldiers in operations.

He left the army in 2009 to spend more time with his wife Michelle and their two daughters who were then aged two and four. But soon after, his world was turned upside down when Michelle, a former Royal Air Force Navigator, died when a lorry pulled out in front of her car.

His determination to create a legacy in her memory led to him founding the Michelle Jurd Trust.

Mr Jurd provides leadership training to organisations including the NHS, Burts Snacks, Virgin Media and the University of Sheffield. He also works with schools focusing on underprivileged areas.

He has recently produced a series of 30 videos about leadership which can be bought through his website, and his bestselling ‘The Leadership Book’ has received excellent reviews and is one of the highest rated leadership books for sale on Amazon.

Mr Jurd was Commandant of Lancashire Army Cadet Force for five years, helping to transform the lives of hundreds of young adults and help them on their way to becoming confident, independent members of society.

Under his leadership Lancashire ACF flourished as he transformed the organization: increasing cadet numbers significantly and improving staff morale. During his tenure more than 500 cadets from Lancashire took part in overseas training, including an exchange trip with Barbados cadets which he initiated.

And concerned that some cadets could not afford to participate in activities, Neil created the charity Friends of Lancashire Army Cadets to support disadvantaged cadets.

Mr Jurd is now director of Initial Officer Training for Army Cadets UK, and in this role leads a team responsible for the initial training of all army cadet force officers.