Queen's Award Celebration

(26 May 2022 12:00 am)
WVS representatives Martyn and Stacey smiling with a royal guard outside Buckingham Palace

In 2020, Warwickshire Vision Support were proud to announce that our volunteers had been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Today the charity and its 250 plus volunteers run a variety of social clubs offering activities and social support; host a series of vision support centres across the county and manage eye clinic advice desks providing information, advice and guidance to people coming to terms with sight loss; operate a home visiting service helping to address issues of social isolation; as well as delivering IT training and advocacy support to enable people to maintain their independence and exercise their rights.

With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, our volunteers have demonstrated their remarkable dedication to those they support. In a little over 2 months, the charity and its volunteers have contacted over 3,000 visually impaired people in Warwickshire, to make sure that they have practical and emotional support to help them weather the crisis. Many have also signed up to a telephone befriending service to help alleviate isolation, something which has been exacerbated by the lock-down.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the celebration which was due to be held at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace was postponed for fear of the safety of guests. A year later in 2021 as restrictions began to ease, we hosted our own presentation at the Warwick Boat Club in celebration of our Queen’s Award winning volunteers, which was presented to us by Lord Lieutenant Timothy Cox who served as the queen’s representative and other high-ranking members of the local community.

However, earlier this year, we received confirmation that the initial celebration that was to be held at Buckingham Palace was to resume, and we could select two representatives to attend the prestigious Royal Garden Party and accept the award on behalf of Warwickshire Vision Support and our volunteers.

Volunteers Martyn Parker and Stacey Fennel were our volunteers that were chosen to represent Warwickshire Vision Support at the event and they left together for Buckingham Palace on the 18th May 2022.

Upon arrival, Stacey and Martyn had to initially queue to get into the gates but as soon as they entered, they were allowed to wander almost wherever they pleased. They took a trip down the side of Buckingham Palace into the gardens, where they found two tents playing live music in which they would take turns in playing which contributed to the overall lovely atmosphere of the afternoon.

After exploring the gardens, Martyn and Stacey headed back to the main crowd which was at the back of Buckingham Palace and were given a variety of food and drinks and given the opportunity to mingle with some of the other Royal Garden Party Attendees. After some time of relaxing with other attendees, Martyn and Stacey and the other attendees were greeted by Prince Edward, the Earl of Sussex, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. 

Reflecting on the event, Stacey wrote: “The event was great! Honestly, the whole thing was amazing. It was very well organised and everyone was friendly and helpful. I really enjoyed myself and I feel so privileged and honoured to be given the opportunity to attend. The amazing, hard-working and dedicated volunteers makes Warwickshire Vision Support the amazing charity it is and it’s such an honour for us to be able to represent them at the garden party, and I for one am very grateful for the opportunity.”

Thanks again to our amazing volunteers whose hard work and determination during the COVID-19 pandemic made all of this possible. Well done!

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