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Congratulations to two Lichfield organisations winning a prestigious award

Queens Award

Tue 4 Jun 2019

Lichfield Cathedral and Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust volunteers have been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

It is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities, and is the equivalent of an individual MBE. It sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged of the highest standard.

From its holy dusters and flower arrangers to its tea mashers and tour guides - the 400-strong team of volunteers at Lichfield Cathedral have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, alongside Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust who have been praised for ‘restoring a derelict canal to improve the environment and for the benefit of the local community, wildlife and tourism’.

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Chairperson Christine Bull said: "Of course, we are ecstatic about receiving the award!

“As a wholly volunteer operated charity undertaking an ambitious project, it is testament to the dedication and commitment of our 200+ volunteers who turn out in all weathers, face all sorts of challenges, keep smiling and make LHCRT such an amazing family."

Christine Bull added: “The process is that someone outside the organisation must nominate, and two other letters of support are also needed.

“We are enormously grateful to the 2018-2019 Mayor of Lichfield, Cllr David Leytham, for nominating us, and to Peter Hawksworth, Headteacher of Queen's Croft High School and Hayley Dorrington, Senior Heathlands Warden for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, for their superb letters of support.

“We also found the advice of Deputy Lieutenants Sarah Elsom and Philip Evans, of course given completely impartially, to have been most useful.”

Lichfield Cathedral and Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are just 2 of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002 - to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and LHCRT is only the sixth canal restoration group to receive it. 

Winners are announced each year on 2 June - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

On behalf of Lichfield Cathedral’s volunteers, Kath Toothill and Pete Harris joined fellow recipients of this year’s award at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.

Pete is an Information Guide and an Events volunteer, helping out at Lichfield Cathedral’s Christmas Illuminations and The Great Exhibitions.  Kath is a Pastoral Visitor, a Guide, a Welcomer, a Diocesan Digest volunteer (sound magazine for the blind and partially sighted), a member of the Flower Guild, a Holy Duster and helps out in the office when needed.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, said: “Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our cathedral and it is wonderful for them to be recognised in this way.

They are an extraordinary group of individuals who give of their time and talents generously. Without them and their tireless support, our mission, our ministry and our hospitality would be so much less.

“I am proud as punch for them all, he added.

There will be a Thanksgiving Service in Lichfield Cathedral for all its volunteers on 23 June followed by a garden party and a presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE KStJ.