Chesterfield Canal Trust receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

by | 25 July 2017 | Community Focus, Gainsborough, Local Charity, Retford, Worksop

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has been selected as a recipient for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

The work the Trust does for the community was very much admired by the independent Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.

The award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Trust Chair Robin Stonebridge said: “Receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017 represents a tremendous achievement for all of the Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteers, past and present, who have dedicated countless hours to promoting the canal and campaigning for its full restoration. We hope that everyone involved, and especially all our volunteers, feel immensely proud of the recognition that this award represents.

“The 4th June 2017, marked the 240th anniversary of the opening of the completed Chesterfield Canal. 2017 also marks the 40th anniversary year of the founding of the Chesterfield Canal Society which laid the foundations for the Trust. What better year could there be for the phenomenal work of the Trust’s volunteers to receive national recognition — and what better recognition than the Queens Award for Voluntary Service?

“Over the years, the Trust has received magnificent support from local communities and from the members of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership, for which we are truly thankful. Today is one for celebrating the incredible feats that dedicated volunteers can achieve, and we hope that everyone in the vicinity of the canal, whether one of the Trust’s 1650 members or not, will join us in celebrating this honour.

“We have just nine miles to complete, and once a decision has been made about the route of HS2, we want to press ahead and get the job done — something that will definitely support community wellbeing and economic growth in our region and the wider economy.”

The Trust is run entirely by volunteers. These include:

  • The Work Party, which has restored four locks, built two new locks and restored over a mile of the canal
  • The crews of four trip boats, which carried nearly 10,000 passengers last year
  • The teams which take out the publicity trailer, run the pop-up café and the shop at Hollingwood Hub

In addition, there are towpath rangers, maintenance volunteers, gardeners and archivists. A group built Dawn Rose, the first new Cuckoo boat for 80 years, using traditional methods only and another group is restoring the Trust’s ex-working boat, Python. Over 150 volunteers helped to run the most recent Festival.

Apart from the national recognition, the Award includes:

  • An invitation to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, which was attended on behalf of the Trust by Kath Auton
  • (Membership Secretary) and Richard Allsopp (Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2017) on 23rd May
  • Publication of our details in a special edition of The London Gazette — available to view online
  • A signed certificate from Her Majesty The Queen — presented locally by the Lord Lieutenant
  • An English Crystal with the logo insignia
  • Permission to use the official QAVS Logo