Two of Derry’s best known charities have been honoured as recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Foyle Search and Rescue, and the Foyle Hospice, have been announced as two of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups throughout the UK to receive the prestigious award this year, which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups to recognise outstanding work in their communities.
Speaking about the award, Chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue, Stephen Twells said, “To have been nominated was praise enough but to have won this award is fantastic recognition for the work our volunteers do. Their dedication and passion, to save lives, makes a real difference to our community. Our charity is a shining example of all that is wonderful about the community spirit in our city and one which we are all extremely proud of.”
Since FSRs inception in 1993, the Charity have rescued 329 people from the river, and helped in excess of 2,700 potentially suicidal people.
On behalf of the Foyle Hospice, Donall Henderson, CEO,commended their volunteer’s outstanding contribution, “For over thirty years, the provision of specialist palliative care in the North West by Foyle Hospice, has been made possible through tireless and unfaltering support from our many volunteers. ‘Together we care’ that people’s medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs are met and that people receive dignity and respect at end of life. This award is testament to the outstanding work undertaken by volunteers involved in direct patient care and indirectly in fundraising, domestic assistance, gardening and many others.”
Long standing volunteers, Hugh McLaughlin and Bernie Gillespie from Foyle Hospice, and Stephen Twells of Foyle Search and Rescue, along with his wife, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 19th May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.
The charities will receive the award later this month from the Lord Lieutenant for the Borough County of Londonderry, Dr Angela Garvey.
The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.