The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
Volunteers' Week is always a special opportunity each year for us to appreciate our wonderful team of volunteers. However 2019 was extra special with the announcement that Brain Tumour Support and our amazing volunteers have been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest recognition possible for voluntary groups in the UK.
Former Mayor of Thornbury, Helen Harrison, nominated Brain Tumour Support for the award having seen the charity grow over a number of years. She welcomed the success:
"I'm absolutely delighted that Brain Tumour Support have been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. It was a real honour to nominate them in recognition of the work that they have been doing for so long supporting people through such a vulnerable time in their lives. Receiving this award just confirmed the amazing work that this organisation and its many volunteers does around Thornbury and across the country."
(L-R) Mayor of Thornbury, Helen Harrison, charity ambassador Kieran Widdowson, patron Beth Rowley, CEO Tina Mitchell Skinner and Chair of Trustees Andrew Chater at the official opening of the charity's new offices in 2016
Brain Tumour Support CEO, Tina Mitchell Skinner, summed up how proud the whole charity team feels:
“We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing team of volunteers. They give up their time and skills so generously and with such commitment to help out in the office, at support groups and at fundraising events. We always knew that they were outstanding, but this is external recognition at the highest level. It really does indicate the huge contribution they make to enable us to support brain tumour patients and their families.”
A royal celebration
As part of the award the charity received two invitations to attend a Royal Garden Party in May and we were proud to ask two of our ambassadors, John Stuart and Kieran Widdowson, in recognition of their many years committed volunteering for Brain Tumour Support.
They attended the Royal Garden Party on 29th May, but weren't able to share the news of their experience until after the official QAVS announcement on June 2nd.
“Going to the Royal Garden Party was very overwhelming and an amazing experience. The hardest part was to keep it secret from my family, friends and my girlfriend, those who know me know I like to talk but I knew the importance of keeping this a secret! I felt I wasn’t there just for the volunteering I do, but on behalf of ALL of Brain Tumour Support’s volunteers, and this was a massive privilege.”
John reflected on a day which may not have been the sunniest but which certainly shines in their memory:
"With around 8,000 people attending it's quite a daunting experience, but a rare opportunity to be in this location and enjoy such an event. It’s not everyday that you get invited to an event recorded in the Court Circular. Attendees come from all walks of life and dress up for the occasion, many wearing uniform or national dress if appropriate. The garden is magnificent – lots to see and a vast area to walkaround. The tea was very good and the two military bands in opposite corners of the main lawn, were great as well.
"My plan of buying a new umbrella to deter the rain failed; it got to serve its purpose of keeping us dry. The drizzle throughout the day was a bit of a dampener, but then also didn't seem out of place for this very English occasion – the party goes on!
"The Royal attendees, led by the Queen and Prince Harry, came out at around 4pm and passed through lanes of guests that had been created by Yeomen of the Guard. As you might imagine it was quite a throng of people lining the lanes, and some strategic planning would have been needed to be anywhere near the front, but just to be there was a wonderful experience to have. It was a real privilege and honour to be invited to attend such a prestigious event on account of my involvement with the charity."
Brain Tumour Support is one of just three charities in Gloucestershire recognised this year and will receive the award officially from the Queen's representative, Edward Gillespie OBE DL, Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, later this summer.
Mr Gillespie said:
"Very many congratulations to the three recipients of this valuable award which recognises the immense contribution each organisation makes to their local community. They are all richly deserved."