Friends of Hebburn Cemetery 'overwhelmed' as community group officially presented with Queen's Award for Voluntary Services
A community group is celebrating after officially being honoured with the Queen’s Award - the highest voluntary honour in the UK.
The Friends of Hebburn Cemetery group were presented the honour by the Queen’s official representative, Sue Winfield, the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Services is the highest award that can be given to a group of volunteers in the UK and is a testimony to the group’s hard work and dedication to the cemetery.
The honour was announced in June, and, with covid restrictions having been lifted, more than 300 people attended a ceremony on September 5, which saw the group presented with the award.
John Stewart, chairman of Friends of Hebburn Cemetery, said the day will be remembered for a long time.
“As Chairman of Friends of Hebburn Cemetery I’m over the moon to be officially presented with the award and want to thank every single volunteer in our cemetery group,” he said.
“The amount of preparation and time put into the ceremony has been overwhelming as it is all year round keeping our cemetery looking as nice as possible.
“There’s been a lot of hard work over the past few years but it has been well worth it and we will continue as we have some very interesting times ahead to advance the cemetery even more.”
The group launched in 2017 to help stop vandalism at the cemetery and have since played a key role in supporting the Hebburn community and looking after the area.
Since launching, the group has been able to install CCTV at the cemetery, maintain graves, go on regular litter picks and recently paid tribute to Sir Tom Moore and the victims of the coronavirus pandemic with a memorial.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 and celebrates the outstanding work of local volunteer groups across the UK who provide vital support to their local communities.
Friends of Hebburn Cemetery is made up of around 40 volunteers who give up their time to support the cemetery.