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St Martin's Challenge Awards

At the heart of the St Martin's Challenge lies a profound commitment to those who often find themselves on the fringes of society. As someone who has directly benefited from its support in my work within prison education, I can attest to the remarkable impact of this initiative. The St Martin's Challenge demonstrates that every individual, regardless of their background, deserves compassion, unwavering support, and a genuine chance to thrive.

Jose Aguiar FRSA

Prison educator, HMP Pentonville.

The awards recognise outstanding individuals who go beyond and above to support people in need.


March 2024
As part of an event organised by MRC Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge. 

Jesus College, Cambridge.

  • Linda Brash (for 45 years service to the NHS)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

November 2023
In aid of Prisoners' Education Trust. 
Royal Academy of Music, London.

  • Raphael Rowe (for service to prison reform)

  • David Breakspear (for service to prison reform)

  • Suzan Nabanja (for service to prison education and Prisoners' Education Trust)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

May 2021
In aid of Samaritans. 
Royal Academy of Music, London.

  • Will Greenwood MBE and Caro Tasker (for service to premature birth and Borne charity)

  • Bobbi Riesel (for service to bereavement care)

  • Anne Wafula-Strike MBE (for service to disability awareness)

  • Katie Columbus (for service to Samaritans)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

November 2019
In support of Hostage International. 
Arboretum, London.

  • Ingrid Betancourt (for service to hostage support)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

October 2019

In aid of National Brain Appeal. Royal Academy of Music, London.

  • Lynne Ramsay (for service to dementia care)

  • Tony Adams MBE (for service to addiction and mental health)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

May 2019

Embassy of Lebanon, London.

  • Sir Terry Waite CBE (for service to hostage support and homelessness)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event

December 2018
In aid of Forward Trust. 
Lacan House, London.

  • Jose Aguiar (for service to prison education)

  • Pia Sinha (for service to prison governance)

  • Paula Harriott (for service to prison reform)

Please click here for a selection of photos from this event


“On average, 125 people a week in the UK commit suicide, many as a result of struggles with mental health and addiction.  We need to change this by talking about our thoughts and feelings in a safe space. I am deeply honoured to be awarded this St Martin’s Challenge Award, which seeks to support people on the margins of society. It is my hope that these Awards will continue to encourage people to feel they can talk openly and receive the support they need.”  

Tony Adams MBE


“I am delighted and honoured to receive a St Martin’s Challenge Lifetime Achievement Award, previously awarded to Terry Waite CBE. Like many others, I have suffered the darkness and despair of long captivity. I learned that any difficult experience can be transformed into hope and resilience. It was also for me an opportunity to learn forgiveness. I am also aware of the many people who still suffer in so many ways, and it is my sincere hope that these St Martin’s Challenge Awards will continue to recognise and support all people that endure in silence and solitude.”

Ingrid Betancourt



"Although it is an honour for me to receive the St Martin's Challenge Award, I am conscious of the fact that there are many other men and women who have done far more than myself to aid those who have suffered misfortune in life. What gives me particular pleasure is that this award will be given at the Lebanese Embassy in London. The people of Lebanon have suffered greatly over the years and have demonstrated considerable resilience in the face of extreme hardship. I trust that the award will give encouragement to people of all faiths in Lebanon and beyond who work for peace and reconciliation."

Sir Terry Waite CBE

"On the 9th May 2019, I was very honoured to take part in the presentation of the St Martin's Challenge Lifetime Achievement Award to a remarkable man, Terry Waite CBE. It was a most touching experience to see this gentle and very humble man receive official recognition for a lifetime of work and what amazing work it has been; in his capacity as Church Envoy and hostage negotiator working for peace and reconciliation between all faiths, and also in his capacity for charitable causes.


The St Martin's Challenge Awards serve to recognise the outstanding contributions of remarkable and very special individuals who, like Terry, have demonstrated a drive to make the world a better place.


It is vital in our fast-paced world, where many live by the credo 'time is money' that we occasionally stop to reflect, to acknowledge and to be inspired by our unsung heroes and their achievements, to see just what inspirational good work exceptional human beings are doing for other humans, which is priceless, and this is exactly that the St Martin's Challenge Awards are about.


It is my earnest hope that the St Martin's Challenge Awards will inspire many others to get involved in humanitarian work. The world needs to be inspired by extraordinary individuals such as Terry and long may he continue to inspire!"

His Excellency Rami Mortada, Ambassador of Lebanon. 

This was an amazing event. Thank you Lewis for starting these Awards and for your passion to see a better world where we are all enlightened, and equal.

Anne Wafula Strike MBE.

It was such an privilege to receive a St Martin’s Challenge Award at a wonderful evening spent in the magical Jesus College Chapel in Cambridge. It was also so uplifting to hear Rory Cellan-Jones speak about his ongoing journey with Parkinson’s Disease and to hear the vital work being undertaken by the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge.

Linda Brash, retired NHS nurse.

We cannot thank Lewis enough for supporting our Brain and Mind Health research at Cambridge University through the St Martin's Challenge. The successful event last Wednesday to support the MRC Cognitive Brain Unit is only one example of his commitment and was an extremely positive way to raise awareness of our work into Parkinson’s and dementia. All the academics across the Department of Clinical Neuroscience and the Department of Psychiatry are hugely grateful to him for his ongoing efforts to help secure philanthropic donations for us. A substantial gift that he facilitated last year has already been used to enable an excellent postgraduate student to remain at Cambridge and conduct vital research into Parkinson’s Disease. Given that he has no official affiliation to our Brain and Mind Health Departments, it is clear that he is offering this assistance simply because he are driven to help those who will benefit from our research. There is no obligation whatsoever for him to do this, but we are so grateful that he does! 

Melina Mercier, Senior Associate Director for Brain and Mind Health, Cambridge University,

The St Martin’s Challenge is such a wonderful initiative helping the most vulnerable in society. I was delighted to attend their event at the Royal Academy of Music in aid of Samaritans, a charity I value so highly myself. Not only did the event raise much needed funds for Samaritans, it also raised the awareness that no one is ever alone, even in the darkest of times, and that help is always available to those who need it.

Gail Porter, TV presenter and Samaritans Ambassador.

Receiving a St Martin's Challenge Award was a humbling recognition of the hard work being done to bring more humanity into our criminal justice system. Real reform requires perseverance and a belief that every life has value and potential for rehabilitation. While there is still much progress to be made, I am inspired by the dedicated individuals fighting to make prisons places of rehabilitation. Receiving this award strengthened my resolve to keep campaigning for the understanding and second chances that all people deserve.

David Breakspear, Prison reform campaigner.

The St Martin's Challenge works incredibly hard to raise awareness and funding for many charitable causes, including prison rehabilitation. As a person with lived experience I am in awe at the time, efforts and strengths that they go to."

Brendan Ross, 2022 Longford Prize winner.

Hidden Voices became familiar with the St Martin's Challenge in 2020 and immediately recognised a kindred spirit committed to advancing and amplifying the cause and needs of marginalised communities. Their support of charities has made and will continue to make a significant impact in the lives of those same communities. The passion for social change demonstrated by Lewis and the team resonate deeply with our own.

Gerry Hamill, Founder, Hidden Voices, Glasgow, Scotland.

I have had the pleasure and honour to know Lewis Owens since he set up the St. Martin’s Challenge in 2018. Since its inauguration, the St. Martin’s Challenge has not only helped & empowered so many people who would come under the category of “Socially excluded” due to their being an ex-prisoner but also it has shone the light of recognition onto those who would help these souls.


I fall into both categories. Being a former prisoner and now someone who has dedicated his life to help those whom society would rather forget, I can truly say that society is better served by having both Dr. Owens and the St. Martin’s Challenge in it.

Michael Campbell, De Profundis Ltd.

Tony photo
IMG_0250 Terry Waite

St Martin's Challenge

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