As LNBP at Braunston celebrates its 35th birthday, we have taken time to look back at a few of so many memorable moments we have enjoyed and encountered.
Here, Dave Otway recalls one of his favourite moments: LNBP at Braunston receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
“It is now ten years ago that we received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, May 2006 to be exact.
This was a deserved recognition of the charity’s voluntary work since its inception in 1981. However we were not allowed to promote its receipt until the beginning of June when the official announcements were made by the Palace. You can imagine the frustration of attending the Crick Show at the end of May but not being allowed to make our award public.
The recognition of the award followed an initial failed application in 2005 but with encouragement to re- apply which I did immediately and with ultimate success. It was timed to coincide with our 25th Anniversary.
As a result four trustees were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Subsequently for one reason or another I was invited to sit on the awards review committee whose remit was to review and amend the award application procedure and the breadth of advertising the availability of the award to applicants. I was the only member of a recipient charity on the committee and suspect that perseverance in getting the award may have had some influence. The rest of the committee consisted of Lord Lieutenants, members of the Cabinet Office, and the Home Office and Queen’s Secretariat.
Meetings were held in the cabinet office Whitehall. The invitation to be a member of the review committee came from one Ed Miliband, who was minister for the third sector at that time. One of the recommendations put forward was for a change in the award wording. Out went “Unsung Heroes” in came “the MBE for Volunteer Charities”. Another suggested introduction was for recipients to attend a reception at the Palace attended by members of the Royal Family. I wonder who put this forward?!
This was also taken on board and the first reception took place in 2007 when selected past recipients were invited, including representatives from ourselves.
I was invited to attend with one other trustee and Chris Woodward and I duly presented ourselves at the Palace entrance on the 20th May 2008 to enjoy a pleasant evening of Royal hospitality. The wine and canapés were plentiful and all attendees were individually introduced to HM The Queen and Prince Philip.
Chris and I were having a chat with a few others outside the reception room afterwards and thinking that was that when one of the court attendants drew us aside and advised us that the Princess Royal wished to have a private chat with the LNBP guests. We were led into another room where it seemed the main Royal party was and had a very pleasant and informal chat with Princess Anne who had been well briefed about the charity. It was apparent that selected attendees were being ushered into the room to meet other members of the royal family and we were fed and wined once again.
I met Prince Philip once again when he advised a group he was chatting to that I was the one to speak to if they were looking for trips on the canals. The icing on the cake was that when the Queen decided it was time for her to leave, Chris and I found ourselves ushered into a group by her exit door for a final few words.
Needless to say it was a memorable occasion and we were not rushed away after she had left. Unfortunately cameras are naturally not allowed at such events and we have no record apart from memories of an eventful day.