Edward Gillespie OBE, the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire recently came to Thornbury to formally present local charity Brain Tumour Support with its Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The charity, which was set up by Tina Mitchell Skinner 16 years ago after losing her husband to a brain tumour, supports thousands of brain tumour patients and their families locally and across the UK.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is considered the MBE for volunteer groups and is the highest award given to local volunteer groups in the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's coronation.
On presenting the Award, Edward Gillespie said: “This is a very special occasion, not just for Brain Tumour Support, but also for the Lieutenancy - the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is something we take great pride in."
Describing the voluntary work at Brain Tumour Support, he said: "This is a glowing example of voluntary service in the community." He quoted the testimonies of many people whose lives have been touched by Brain Tumour Support over the years, and acknowledged how the charity was actually built exclusively on the commitment of volunteers. Some of those earliest volunteers are still active in the charity's work today.
On accepting the award, Tina Mitchell Skinner, said: “It is a moment for us as a charity that is incredibly important. We have here today volunteers, ambassadors and patrons, and all of you have contributed to the work that we are doing. That is what this award is about, the value that you give to us as a charity is unquestionably marvellous so I cannot thank you enough for all that you do.”
Also attending the presentation was one of the first volunteers to help at the charity, Annie Johnson, whose husband was diagnosed at the same time at Tina’s husband. Recalling that difficult time she said: “The charity gave us the biggest arms of support you could possibly imagine. I had the most amazing support and so did my daughter. I wanted to give back to the people who helped me."
She continues to volunteer at the Bristol Brain Tumour Support Group and about her role there she said: "I wanted to walk alongside other people, being a friend as a volunteer, to empower people to keep going. We should never forget the power of social contact, it is amazing and wonderful."