Yesterday, the Lt-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, presented the award at the Jubilee Day Centre, where representatives from all of the GVS’s projects were celebrating with a glass of bubbly and a decorated cupcake.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups and is the highest award available to local groups.
It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee and recognises outstanding work by voluntary organisations to benefit their local communities.
Sir Ian proposed a toast before presenting the award. He said the most surprising thing about the GVS winning the prestigious award was that it had not come sooner.
‘The GVS does what I call real hardcore volunteering. Without the many services you give, it would put considerable strain on the States, or might not be done at all,’ he said.
‘I am always delighted to present The Queen’s Voluntary Service Award, but this is particularly special because the GVS is the embodiment of what these awards are for.’
He commended the staff and volunteers for their dedication and hard work, calling them the ‘fabric of society’.
‘There is a period of intense scrutiny before an organisation can be recognised with this prestigious award and the GVS sailed through with flying colours.’
GVS manager Mandy Le Bachelet was presented with the crystal award and a certificate signed by Her Majesty.
‘This has been a strange year for everyone, but to be presented with an award that recognises the hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers is truly an honour,’ she said.
‘Without our many volunteers, the GVS could not offer the support to the community in so many ways that it does.’
This year the GVS celebrates its 70th anniversary and was due to hold a big party in March to raise money for a new minibus.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic this was not able to go ahead, but Mrs Le Bachelet said a special thank you in her speech to Jim and Peggy Wilkinson, who heard about the change of plans and donated a £36,000 minibus to the service.
Also present was Jurat Jerry Girard, who nominated the service for the award.
‘I was delighted and proud to put the GVS forward – and to be honest I could not believe they had not been given the award before for their long-standing service to the community,’ he said.
‘My late mother was a beneficiary of the services that the charity gives. The third sector in Guernsey is an integral part of our life and it is charities such as the GVS that make our island really special.’