Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 13.43.08A public health consultant and a retired County Durham police officer have been honoured with a top award.

Dr Mike Lavender and Michael Banks, a former Deputy Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, have been awarded the Chairman’s Medal by the Chairman of Durham County Council, Cllr Jan Blakey.

They were both introduced today to members of Durham County Council (Wednesday 23 September) at the authority’s Full Council meeting, where Cllr Blakey praised their work in their respective fields.

Cllr Blakey said: “Michael Banks is a well-known figure throughout County Durham, having served his entire 30-year police career with Durham Constabulary and was appointed Deputy Chief Constable in 2012.

“Mike Lavender, meanwhile, is a leading consultant in public health medicine and someone I’ve chosen to honour for his outstanding work to the people of County Durham –

and indeed, those much further afield.”

Dr Lavender has, over the last decade, spent much of his spare time working in deprived areas in Nepal where people have very limited access to healthcare.

His commitment to Nepal has been extensive and he supported the Nepalese people following the appalling earthquake in April that ravaged the country.

Dr Lavender flew to Nepal to help with the rescue effort and work with Save the Children and Child Reach Nepal.

Cllr Blakey added: “Those harrowing scenes of disaster were beamed and broadcast around the world, leaving Nepal – and its many isolated regions – to cope with more than 9,000 deaths and around 30,000 injuries.

“Indeed such were the unforeseen dangers, that Mike was actually caught up in later aftershocks that caused the loss of further life in Nepal, where he witnessed appalling situations that we would find impossible to comprehend.”

As Deputy Chief Constable, the career of Michael Banks involved a number of uniformed operational and detective roles and a portfolio that included counter terrorism, serious, organised and major crime, criminal justice, response and neighbourhood policing and professional standards and partnerships.

Cllr Blakey said: “It gives me great pleasure to award Michael the Chairman’s Medal for his contribution in reducing crime and making a positive difference in County Durham communities.”