Lord Lieutenant presents ‘group MBE’ to volunteers
Volunteers who raise funds and provide equipment and services at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital have been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest honour that can be given to local groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in communities.
Presenting the award yesterday (12th September) in front of an audience of more than 120 Friends of Crowborough Hospital volunteers, Mr Peter Field, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, described it as the “MBE for volunteer groups” and said the Queen sent her personal congratulations. “Without you,” he said, “
we would be a much poorer society.”
A volunteer, Mrs Evelyn Wickham, whose name is indelibly linked to the success of the Friends’ major fund-raising event, the annual Crowborough Hospital Fete, accepted the award on behalf of the Friends.
A Deputy Lieutenant, Mrs Phyllida Fane de Salis, a member of the panel that assessed the work and achievements of the Friends, read the citation at the ceremony held at Crowborough Community Centre. Mrs Fane de Salis is also a governor of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Opening the proceedings Friends’ President, Dr Cathryn Stokes, said the organisation was “thrilled and humbled” by the Award. Later, she spoke of the “robust assessment” for the award last December which covered: the Social Day Centre, fully funded and managed by the Friends; the Minor Injuries Unit, for which the Friends funded training and important items of equipment; the Hospital Shop, run by Friends’ volunteers; the Birthing Centre, which it supports with equipment including high-tech beds; and the Imaging/X-ray Department (leading edge equipment). “The Friends’ fundraising and work glues together the services provided by different branches of the NHS on the hospital site,” she said.
The Friends received a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal. The organisation is also now entitled to use The Queen’s Award emblem on its website, stationery and other printed material.
Following the presentation ceremony, the Friends hosted an afternoon tea, provided by the Community Centre’s Gallery Café, to celebrate the award and 60 years of service to the hospital and community.
In June this year, the Friends received national recognition for taking over the Social Day Centre – a vital service for lonely and socially isolated people – when the NHS withdrew funding. They were presented with an Innovations and Best Practice Award by the Community Hospitals’ Association for their pioneering approach to maintaining the Day Centre.