Queen Award recognises dedicated band of volunteers in Sussex

The Friends of Sussex Hospices and The Conservators of the Ashdown Forest are among the 193 organisations and voluntary groups to be honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

Created in 2002, the award is the highest recognition that can be made to a voluntary group and is equivalent to the MBE.

Recipients are announced on the anniversary of the Coronation on 2nd June each year and coincides with the start of Volunteers Week, which celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the country.

Ashdown-Forest-and-Deer-SigThe Conservators of the Ashdown Forest

150 volunteers provide invaluable support through their time, expertise and enthusiasm by working with the staff team on a daily basis all year round in all weathers. Whether as Mounted or Weekend Rangers, Conservation or Information Volunteers, through providing event and office support, running the Pop Up café, stock checking and lookering, leading specialist walks, monitoring or history and research all the volunteers have an exceptional knowledge and deep attachment to this very special place that is Ashdown Forest.

Director Pat Buesnel said:

This award is a proud moment in our history and a huge achievement for our teams of fantastic volunteers, for the dedicated staff that support them and for the organisation as whole.  If you want to get involved with us as a volunteer do get in touch – it’s varied, fun, rewarding, often challenging and I guarantee there is never a dull moment!

Chairman of the Board of Conservators Roy Galley added:

This is a tremendous achievement, very many congratulations to our staff and volunteers.

There will be an event at the Ashdown Forest Centre on 6th June to celebrate the Queen’s Award and the contribution played by volunteers.

Sue Renshaw from the Friends of Sussex Hospices attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May

Sue Renshaw from the Friends of Sussex Hospices attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May

The Friends of Sussex Hospices

The Friends organise a series of events each year including a Christmas Gift Fair at Ardingly showground to raise funds to support the work of 12 local hospices including Hospice in the Weald, St Peter & St James in Chailey and Demelza children’s hospice.

2016 is the charity’s 21st year and a very special event is being held on 3rd September to mark the occasion.  Festival 21 is set to be a magical day of family entertainment, with a vintage fun fair, big top, classic car rally and a micro beer festival.  As light falls they’ll be a fantastic light and music show telling the story of Sussex through the ages.

The Friends are also planning a black tie dinner in November in the historic surroundings of the Drapers’ Hall in London.

If you can help by being a member of the fundraising committee or volunteer to help at one of the events you can get in touch via their website: www.friendsofsussexhospices.org.uk.

Other recipients in Sussex including The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum and a charity serving the community in Etchingham.

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