Volunteers win Queen’s award

David Croston, who has been restoring the ponds in Happy Mount Park back to their former glory.
David Croston, who has been restoring the ponds in Happy Mount Park back to their former glory.

VOLUNTEERS at Happy Mount Park have won the Queen’s award for voluntary service.

The gong, the equivalent of an MBE, has been awarded to the group for their work in transforming the park.

Simon Lewis, who founded the group that will now be known as the Happy Mount Park Volunteers MBE in 2004, said it was “a wonderful feeling” to win the award.

He said: “It’s an incredible achievement.

“I didn’t think walking into the park and starting this group would turn out like this.

“It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Work done by the group, which usually totals around 10 when they meet to work on the park, includes improving the Japanese Gardens and ponds.

Simon said: “It’s a victory for people working together. Anybody can do this.

“We’ve had to battle against a lot of red tape and it’s been an uphill struggle at times.

“But we started at the bottom of the hill and have climbed to the top and conquered it.

“We reckon Happy Mount Park is now one of the best parks in Lancashire.”

Those receiving this year’s awards were selected from more than 400 groups nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community.

Each of the winning groups will receive a certificate signed by the Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s representative in Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth at a special ceremony arranged by the Lieutenancy Office.

The park volunteers will receive their award at County Hall in Preston on July 16.

Each group has also received an invitation for representatives to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Lord Shuttleworth said: “This result for Lancashire is particularly welcome in the year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“The awards are a reflection of the substantial amount of work undertaken by these voluntary groups in the county.”

Thirty-two groups from Lancashire have now received this annual award, since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Happy Mount Park was one of two chosen in the county this year. If you want to get involved in the group, contact Simon on 01524 423760.