Dedicated volunteers who have developed a community forest centre have been honoured with the highest Royal award.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was presented to the Forest Volunteers at the Forest of Marston Vale.
This is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, and 40 of the 120 volunteers assembled at the Forest Centre to receive a commemorative crystal bowl and certificate.
Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, presented the award and she said: “I was delighted to present this award on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen to the Forest of Marston Vale Volunteers (Forest Volunteers).
“The group is an exceptionally well-run, high quality organisation and represents the very best example of how well co-ordinated and dedicated volunteers can make a genuine impact on their local community.
“I have watched with excitement since the day of the opening of the Forest Centre, what a difference these dedicated volunteers have made year on year to the development of this amazing Bedfordshire success.”
The Forest Volunteers is one of six charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award across East Anglia this year. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Forest of Marston Vale Volunteers carry out a wide range of tasks at the Forest Centre, in the Millennium Country Park and throughout the vale. As well as planting trees and a host of other practical conservation jobs, volunteers take photographs, help at events, look after web sites, man Forest Centre reception, and more.
The Millennium Country Park has just been awarded the Green Flag Award from Keep Britain Tidy for the ninth year in a row which is, in no small part, down to the contribution from this volunteer core.
Nigel Davis is a Forest Volunteer of several years standing as well as a trustee of the Forest of Marston Vale Trust - the charity behind the creation of the Forest of Marston Vale.
He said: “I’m thrilled that the huge amount of work put in by Forest Volunteers has been recognised in this way. There are so many people involved, contributing in so many ways and they are all vital to the creation of the Forest.”
The trust is always on the lookout for new volunteers. So if you have some spare time and would like to do something amazing and enjoyable to make the Marston Vale an even better place, they would love to hear from you.
A young oak tree was planted in the Millennium Country Park during the Lord Lieutenant’s visit to commemorate the important award.
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