The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO visited the Surrey Hills last week to present The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) to the Surrey Hills Society.
The presentation took place at Albury Saxon Church where he was met by over 40 Surrey Hills Society volunteers. He spent time talking to the volunteers about the work that they do to promote and protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He also heard about the Heritage Lottery funded Tales of the Tillingbourne project, which sought to encourage local communities along the valley of the River Tillingbourne to engage in the unique and beautiful landscape by researching its industries, promoting heritage trails, capturing local knowledge through oral histories, and monitoring and recording the ecology of the river. Part of the legacy of the project is a permanent display at Shere Museum that includes 7 puppets.
The Earl was shown a short play by Nick White entitled “Tales of the Wey”, which the Society hopes to develop as part of a sequel to the Tales of the Tillingbourne Project.
His Royal Highness was also presented with two books. One entitled, “Our Changing Landscape”, written and researched by Society Vice President Ken Bare, tells how the Surrey Hills AONB came into being 60 years ago and how the area has changed since. The other “Walks for All Ages” was written by the Society’s other Vice President, Christine Howard and features 20 Surrey Walks ranging from 2 to 6 miles long.
The Earl then presented Society Chairman Gordon Jackson with the Queen’s Award for “encouraging people to explore and learn about the special qualities of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The Queen’s Award is the highest honour given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities and was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of HM The Queen’s coronation.
Gordon Jackson, Chairman of the Society, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to receive this Award, which recognises the huge voluntary contribution this relatively young charity has made to the Surrey Hills. It was particularly fitting that the presentation was held in Albury Old Saxon Church in the heart of the Surrey Hills and I would like to thank the Friends of Albury Saxon Church for facilitating this. I am so pleased that our volunteers have been given the recognition they deserve and we look forward to continuing to promote the iconic and distinctive landscape of the Surrey Hills and to help discover and conserve our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’
For further information on the Surrey Hills Society visit; www.surreyhillssociety.org