Crowborough Hospital Friends win Queen’s Award

Volunteers who raise funds and provide equipment and services at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital have been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service – the highest honour that can be given to local groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in communities.

Key participants in the presentation ceremony: Left to right: Cllr Peter Ellefsen, Mayor of Crowborough; Mrs Margaret Field; Cllr Michael Ensor, Chairman East Sussex County Council; Mrs Sue Ensor; Mr Michael Chowan DL; Mrs Chantal Wilson DL, Chairman of the Friends of Crowborough Hospital; Mrs Maureen Chowan, High Sheriff of East Sussex; Dr Cathryn Stokes, President of the Friends; Mrs Evelyn Wickham, Friends’ volunteer; Mr Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex; and Mrs Phyllida de Fane Salis DL.

Presenting the award yesterday (12th September) in front of an audience of more than 120 Friends, Mr Peter Field, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, described it as the “MBE for volunteer groups” and said the Queen sent her personal congratulations.  “Without you,” he said, “we would be a much poorer society.”

A volunteer, Mrs Evelyn Wickham, whose name is indelibly linked to the success of the Friends’ major fund-raising event, the annual Crowborough Hospital Fete, accepted the award on behalf of the Friends.

Volunteer Mrs Evelyn Wickham receiving the Award on behalf of the Friends of Crowborough Hospital

Deputy Lieutenant, Mrs Phyllida Fane de Salis, a member of the panel that assessed the work and achievements of the Friends, read the citation at the ceremony held at Crowborough Community Centre.  Mrs Fane de Salis is also a governor of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Opening the proceedings Friends’ President, Dr Cathryn Stokes, said the organisation was “thrilled and humbled” by the Award.  Later, she spoke of the “robust assessment” for the award last December which covered: the Social Day Centre, fully funded and managed by the Friends; the Minor Injuries Unit, for which the Friends funded training and important items of equipment; the Hospital Shop, run by Friends’ volunteers; the Birthing Centre, which it supports with equipment including high-tech beds; and the Imaging/X-ray Department (leading edge equipment).  She added:

The Friends’ fundraising and work glues together the services provided by different branches of the NHS on the hospital site.

The Friends received a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal.  The organisation is also now entitled to use The Queen’s Award emblem on its website, stationery and other printed material.

The certificate signed by the Queen and the domed glass crystal Award.

Following the presentation ceremony, the Friends hosted an afternoon tea, provided by the Community Centre’s Gallery Café, to celebrate the award and 60 years of service to the hospital and community.

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