Ladies and Gentlemen,
Federal President Joachim Gauck has decided to confer upon Uwe Maynard the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
I am delighted to present today the insignia of this outstanding award to Mr Maynard, and I am very happy to see many of his closest friends and family joining us in celebrating this important occasion.
For many years Mr Maynard has distinguished himself through his dedicated work on behalf of charitable organisations in the vicinity of the German-speaking Lutheran, Reformed and United Congregations in Great Britain.
The centre of both his professional and charitable work is the building complex at 35 Craven Terrace in London, which includes Lancaster Hall Hotel, the German Synod office, and the German YMCA and German Welfare Council (GWC), of which Mr. Maynard is Vice Chairman.
The German YMCA offers together with the GWC a reliable help point for German nationals in London.
The prime aim of the Association, which was founded in 1952 by socially committed Germans, is to support Germans in distress.
Over the last few decades Mr Maynard has, beyond his professional activities, devoted himself to charitable causes in an outstanding manner and on a purely voluntary basis.
Thus in 2009, when the German YMCA’s welfare advice centre, which was important for the Embassy’s work, was closed and the future of the GWC was at risk, he ensured that the GWC was given a sustainable long-term financial footing.
Over many years he has again and again supported organisations and individuals in need through donations from Lancaster Hall Hotel, helped people who have lost their jobs to look for work or given them employment at Lancaster Hall Hotel, and provided hotel rooms at special rates or free of charge, even accommodating distressed families overnight in the hotel lobby.
In all these ways he has also given vital practical support to the Embassy in its work.
Under his leadership, the German YMCA also actively contributes to cultural and social understanding between Britons and Germans through projects such as Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, the German Choir and the Au Pair Programme.
The Association also houses and supports the Schubert Society and the German Seamen’s Mission.
In addition, from mid-2003 to the end of 2013 Mr. Maynard was Honorary Treasurer of the German-speaking Lutheran, Reformed and United Synod in Great Britain.
From 1991 to 2013 – alongside his work for the German YMCA – he ran the Synod’s office.
He has also since 1998 been a Trustee of St. Paul‘s German Evangelical Reformed Church Trust, which performs church and charitable work for German-speaking citizens in and around London.
Mr Maynard has made a tireless and crucial contribution to the success of all these projects. Many, many times he has put his charitable work before his own interests.
It is thanks to him that these German institutions with their rich traditions continue to exist and can still offer help to many Germans in London.
I am therefore truly delighted today to be able to pay tribute to Mr Maynard’s long services through this high decoration.
Uwe Maynard, I ask you to step forward please to receive the insignia of the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.