At the end of April, we received a top secret email saying we had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services (the MBE for volunteer groups) but had to keep it quiet until the Queen’s birthday which was on 2nd June 2014 when the formal announcement would be made.
Debbie Coombes from our Centre was invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 10th June and we invited Jan Meadowcroft, who had submitted the nomination, to go along as well.
We entered by the red carpet you see on the TV and while mingling on the lawn, an usher came to chat to us and as a result we were chosen to actually meet Her Majesty the Queen. We chatted for about 3 or 4 minutes all about donkeys, animals and humans and even the corgis - she was delightful and very interested in our work.
It was such a special day... the dainty afternoon tea, the lovely lake complete with royal ducks and water fowl and amazing gardens; we could just wander in where we wanted. The sun shone and two bands played all afternoon adding to the atmosphere.
This week 19 members of staff and volunteers attended the formal Queen’s Award presentation ceremony at the lovely Gorton Monastery where we received the signed certificate and a stunning QAVS crystal from Warren Smith, our Lord Lieutenant, and we were all treated to afternoon tea.
When it came to the photos, well, we just had to include one of our lovely donkeys so Rusty came along too!