Winner of the Long-Term Achievement prize
On 30th September 2020, it was announced that the late Reverend Paul Nicolson was awarded the Long-Term Achievement prize posthumously at the 2020 Sheila McKechnie National Campaigner Awards.
Rev Paul was such an inspiration and touched many people’s lives, this award is so well deserved.
You can watch the award ceremony on youtube where the award was presented by Patrick Vernon, winner of last year's Long-Term Achievement prize followed by a brief interview with Tom Nicolson, Reverend Paul's son.
And below is the news released from Sheila McKechnie Foundation on the award.
Recognising the achievements and work of Rev Paul Nicolson
A vicar who, for decades, campaigned tirelessly for better living standards for those on low incomes has been recognised for his lifetime’s achievement.
Reverend Paul Nicolson, who died in March at the age of 87, has been posthumously awarded the Long-Term Achievement prize at this year’s Sheila McKechnie National Campaigner Awards.
Nicolson founded Taxpayers Against Poverty, an organisation that campaigns for affordable homes and an adequate income for those in or out of work. He also established the influential charity Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, which helps individuals claim the benefits they’re entitled to and prevents homelessness.
During his lifetime, Reverend Nicolson’s campaigning activity was regularly covered in the media and his letters frequently published in The Guardian. His research work was also instrumental in the introduction of the London Living Wage, under then London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Four years ago, the reverend once again came to national prominence after he refused to pay his council tax in support of those on welfare benefits who could not afford to do so. He told The Guardian in an interview: “I was born in Kensington in 1932. My life expectancy is 88. I live between two wards in which the life expectancy is 71. There’s a 17-year difference. The people in this area who were born the same year as me died 13 years ago. It’s a very real difference which the combined efforts of national and local government are doing nothing to improve and are very likely making worse. These seem good reasons for civil disobedience against laws that are causing some serious social, economic and health consequences.”
Throughout his life, he drew inspiration from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, all of whom showed it is possible to change public opinion by refusing to obey unjust laws.
Reverend Nicolson died on 5 March 2020. Only a week before, he had been campaigning outside Church House in London, where the Church of England Synod was meeting, in solidarity with the homeless. He truly was a campaigner until the end.
Background information The SMK National Campaigner Awards celebrate the best campaigns and campaigners – whether working locally or nationally, and from individuals and community groups to people working in large organisations. Our interest is in finding those who have made change happen – most effectively, creatively and courageously.
The awards is where we bring the campaign community together to champion and celebrate campaigning, demonstrating its value and acknowledging success.