DEDICATED volunteers from Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice have been honoured with the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.
The award - the group equivalent of the MBE - is an annual honour made to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary work.
It is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who devote their time to helping others in their communities.
The award was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire David Moody at a special ceremony in the hospice grounds in North Anston on Friday.
He said: “There are over 350 volunteers helping out on a regular basis taking part in a multitude of tasks from cleaning, cooking, administration work, fundraising, gardening, painting and even laying paths and building work.”
“Bluebell Wood is exemplary in the way it harnesses the energy of volunteers to such a worthy cause.”
Vera Wilkinson is the hospice’s oldest volunteer. The 83-year-old has spent one day a week volunteering in the Worksop charity shop for the last five years.
She said: “I enjoy every minute of working in the shop and know that it is for a really good cause.”
“I’ve worked here since the shop opened, I love helping out and we have fun too. I plan to volunteer for as long as I can.”
And its not just adults who give their time to Bluebell Wood. The hospice has a dedicated army of children and teenagers who do their bit to help.
The youngest volunteers are six-year-old Joshua Smith, 14-year-old James Gibson and 15-year-old Katie Knight.
James followed his nan and granddad into volunteering and dresses up as Bluebell Wood mascot Fern the Squirrel at events.
He said: “My nan and granddad were volunteering and it seemed like a really good cause. It’s good to put something back into the community and I will carry on as I get older.
Katie started fundraising for the hospice three years ago after the hospice cared for her sister.
“I know first hand how Bluebell Wood helps people so I wanted to help them,” she said.
Bluebell Wood chief executive Sarah Champion said receiving the award was an ‘honour’.
She added: “We are very proud of our volunteers and extremely grateful to them all for their hard work and dedication. Without their efforts we wouldn’t be able to support as many families as we do.”