VOLUNTEERS from Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice have been left ‘speechless’ after receiving the highest national honour possible from the Queen.
The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary groups.
It was created by the Queen to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to communities by groups of volunteers.
“I was thrilled and delighted to learn that Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice volunteers have been officially recognised and honoured by this prestigious award,” said chair of trustees John Holt.
“It is a testament to the amazing work that our volunteers, whether as groups or individuals, have been undertaking for many years.”
“This is the highest national honour that can be bestowed on volunteers: the equivalent of an MBE for an organisation like ours.”
“It not only serves as a massive thank you but also demonstrates the high regard and level of respect which Bluebell Wood, through its volunteers, has developed within the community.”
Mr Holt congratulated all of the volunteers associated with the hospice, adding: “I know that you do not give your time and energy and effort for praise or reward, but you should know that this award is only given for excellence in voluntary activities and for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community.”
One of those dedicated volunteers is 62-year-old Linda Swallow from Dinnington.
“I love volunteering for Bluebell Wood and have watched it grow into the amazing place that it is today from the first brick being laid,” she said.
“It’s a fabulous place to be a part of. I’ve been volunteering for the hospice for over seven years now, fundraising in the community to help raise the £3 million needed to keep the hospice running each year.”
“It’s wonderful for the Bluebell Wood volunteers to have been recognised in this way, and I feel proud and honoured that as a group we have won this award.”
“I was totally speechless to hear we’d won this award,” added volunteer Ann Clarke, 74. “I’m so proud to be a member of this group, we’ve all become very good friends over the many years we’ve supported Bluebell Wood.”
Now in its tenth year, the Queen’s Award has recognised over 1,092 groups over the past decade.
It recognises, and sets, the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.
The hospice will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants.
Representatives will also get invitations to attend Royal Garden Party events this year.