LORD-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe has presented our volunteers with the country’s most prestigious honour for service in the community.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK and recognises the St Luke’s volunteers who give 116,800 hours of their time each year, helping to deliver the best possible care to patients and their families.
The Lord-Lieutenant made the official presentation of the Award at our annual Volunteer Long Service Awards ceremony, which was held at the Cutlers’ Hall.
And he was joined by our President Lady Neill DL, who presented long service awards to more than a hundred volunteers.
The evening’s longest serving volunteer was Margaret Hirst, who has been supporting St Luke’s for 40 years and is a Telephone Support volunteer on the Bereavement Team, making calls to clients and offering support where needed.
She is typical of the 745 people who regularly give their time for free to support the services provided for terminally ill people throughout Sheffield by St Luke’s – dedicated service that is specifically recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Those volunteers – aged from just 14 to 94 – take part in a wide range of activities including fundraising, patient transport, bereavement counselling, recording life histories, being patient companions, delivering food parcels, tending the hospice’s gardens and providing vital support in the award winning chain of 14 St Luke’s shops across the city.
They also help provide nearly 3,000 free places each year on supported activities at both St Luke’s and at Clifford House – our centre for people affected by life limiting illnesses.
And their enthusiasm, effort and imagination help to raise more than £7 million annually.
Our Chief Executive Peter Hartland said: “Everybody at St Luke’s is delighted that our volunteers have been recognised at the highest level.
“And at an event where we celebrated the individual dedication of our volunteers, it seemed absolutely right that the Lord-Lieutenant should be present too to present the Award that recognises the work of all our wonderful supporters.
“This accolade is truly deserved and we are so proud to be supported by such wonderful people.
“As we look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2021, we know that we can count on the continued support of people who give their time and dedication enthusiastically and tirelessly.”