Bromley MBEs: Former homeless man and top hospice doctor named in New Year Honours

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 December 2018

Dennis Rogers had been made an MBE.

Dennis Rogers had been made an MBE.


Two Bromley residents have been recognised for their outstanding community work in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Dr Nigel Sykes is made an MBE for services to hospice care.Dr Nigel Sykes is made an MBE for services to hospice care.

A former homeless man and a leading medic now have the right to put MBE after their names after their amazing work in their own fields was spotted as being extraordinary.

Dennis Rogers, who has dedicated his life to helping other others off the street, has been recognised for his tireless work.

The 58-year-old not only helps others, but he has become a leading figure in the world of homelessness.

Dennis, from Penge, has long been regarded as an outstanding role model, drawing on his own torturous experiences of surviving on the streets to ensure the problem is minimised as far as possible.

He decided to use his experience of rough sleeping and alcohol addiction to support others and developed a self-help group of former homeless people called the Saturday Club.

Although it does not affect every homeless person, a good standard of education is often vital to finding a way off the streets.

Dennis addressed his own literacy deficit and is now a case worker with the Homeless Health Peer Advocacy service at Groundswell, a user-led organisation.

He said his role there is to help local homeless people navigate the often complex routes of the NHS so that they receive the health support they need and deserve.

He told the Bromley Times: “I was amazed when told I had this award. It won’t really change my life too much – I will just go on doing what I am doing.

“I am determined to do all I can to help homeless people. We can never give up on them.”

As part of the health advocacy role, he helps at some of the largest hostels for homeless people in London and in any single day will accompany up to a dozen people to the GP or to other primary care appointments.

Because of his experience and temperament, he is now the lead person in the Homeless Health Peer Advocacy service which requires him to take on the most complex cases.

He is also a mentor to less experienced colleagues and volunteers.

Dr Nigel Sykes, of St Christopher’s Hospice – which has sites in Sydenham and Orpington, is made an MBE for services to hospice care.

The 64-year-old from Sydenham is a recognised authority by palliative care colleagues across the world in relation to his research interests.

When told of the award, he said: “I was surprised and deeply honoured.”

Constipation, motor neurone disease and ethical issues at the end of life are just some of the topics he has published on.

He has conducted research and published numerous peer-reviewed articles. He has authored or co-authored a number of books, articles and letters.

Dr Sykes has also sat on the editorial board of a number of significant peer reviewed journals.

He has an abiding interest in the effective spread of good palliative care across the world: he has mentored many junior colleagues and lectured nationally and internationally to share his knowledge. He was one of a small group of St Christopher’s Hospice staff responsible for developing the now well-established joint Kings College London/St Christopher’s Multi-professional Palliative Care MSc which has an excellent reputation around the world.

The MSc has trained more than 450 students since it began in 1991, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the field across the world.

In 2003 he set up the first UK Hospice Clinical Ethics Committee. He has also acted as adviser to the Office of the Official Solicitor and to the legal representatives of both NHS and independent sector hospices in cases involving clinical and ethical judgements in relation to palliative care.

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