Royal recognition for Devon’s top volunteers

Authored by Mary
Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 13:57

Two of Devon’s top volunteer groups have received the Royal seal of approval this week as they were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The Tavistock and District Outdoor Education Forum (TDOEF) and The Dawlish Gardens Trust were amongst 117 groups in the UK to receive the prestigious accolade, which is the highest award given to volunteer groups and has a status equivalent to the MBE.

They were selected from 270 groups nominated by members of the public who have seen the difference that volunteers have made to the lives of others or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community.

The award sets the benchmark for excellence in volunteering and each year celebrates outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and providing opportunity for others.

They were presented with their award by Devon’s Lord-Lieutenant, Sir Eric Dancer KCVO CBE JP, the Queen’s representative in the county, at a special ceremonial event on Thursday 18 July at County Hall in Exeter.

Sir Eric said: "This is a wonderful achievement by representatives of the voluntary sector in the county. The standards set for these Awards are very high and the competition from other groups throughout the country is very strong.

“These awards mark the strength and value of the voluntary sector in Devon as well as giving national recognition to the marvellous achievements of this year’s Award winners.

“It is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon groups of this kind and carries a status equivalent to the MBE. As such, the Queen’s Award not only serves to provide recognition of volunteer groups but also demonstrates the high respect in which volunteering is held.

“I very much hope that these Awards will act as an inspiration to all voluntary groups and volunteers in the county and encourage yet more nominations to made.”

The Queens Award for Voluntary Service was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Groups must be nominated for the award, for example, by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public, representatives of public bodies, or other voluntary groups.

Nominations for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2014 are now being accepted. The closing date for making nominations for next year’s awards is 30 September 2013.

Full details can be found online at