More than 70 Surrey Hills Society volunteers have been recognised for their outstanding contributions in support of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as a result of the Surrey Hills Society receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across 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.
Surrey Hills Society volunteers promote this special protected landscape in many different ways, ranging from:
• Manning our stall at local shows across the county, handing out free walks leaflets and showcasing the special attractions of the area
• Giving talks to other groups and organisations
• Running events to educate our members and residents about the area
• Leading free walks across the county
• Supporting and promoting the work of other related charities
Our volunteers share their passion for everything to do with the Surrey Hills – from its wonderful flora and fauna and rare habitats to its unique culture and heritage, as well as its leisure opportunities. They also collaborate with other organisations across the Surrey Hills to raise funds for agreed worthwhile projects within the area, which benefits both wildlife and the residents of Surrey.
Representing all the award-winning volunteers, former Vice Chairman, Ken Bare and his wife Angela Hume, who is also a volunteer with the Surrey Hills, attended a Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace recently to celebrate the charity’s success. Along with Chris Howard, Ken is probably the most well-known volunteer with the Society, as he has been the lead at shows and fetes across Surrey for the last ten years and is also the main public speaker for the talks programme that is delivered to a variety of organisations across the south east.
Ken said: ‘It was such a privilege to be invited to Buckingham Palace. Being a representative for all the volunteers across the Surrey Hills was a great honour. It was a wonderful occasion and we were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the magnificent garden at its best.
Meanwhile all volunteers from the charity will be celebrating later this summer, when the Surrey Hills Society will be presented with the award by Michael More-Molyneux, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
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 this county. I am so pleased that our volunteers have been given the recognition that 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
Current Vice President, Chris Howard, who was Chairman of the Society for seven years and stood down only last year said ‘We hope our volunteers feel extremely proud of the recognition that this award represents. They have all been so wonderful to work with and many have become my dearest friends’. Chris added: ‘I would recommend volunteering with the Surrey Hills Society to anyone who shares a passion for the Surrey Hills’ unique landscape and wants to learn more about this wonderful countryside on their doorstep.’