I am delighted to report that the Society has been granted The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
The Award is equivalent to an MBE for a volunteer group and is the highest award given to such groups across the UK for outstanding work done in their local communities. It recognises volunteering work that is of social, economic or environmental service to the local community and is supported, recognised and respected by the people who benefit from it.
Part of the citation for the Bluebell states the award is for "Pioneering the preservation of Britain 's Railway Heritage through Railway Operation" and it goes on to acknowledge the contribution the Railway has made to education and the inclusiveness of the Society with its "welcome to all" philosophy. The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative piece of crystal for display.
The presentation of the award will be made during the summer (at a date to be arranged) by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex on behalf of the Queen. The Bluebell Railway will be allowed to display the Queen's Award logo on its publicity and publications.
More than 850 groups around the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man have now won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, over the eight years since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002. The 103 Winners of this year's award were selected from 341 groups nominated by members of the public. Until this year no organisation involved in Railway Preservation has received the Award
Whilst the Railway has received many awards these have been for specific activities. This Award is very, very special as it acknowledges the contribution of ALL our working members past and present over the last fifty years. This is something we can and should all be proud of.
2 June 2010
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