AROUND 150 volunteers from the 11 contests in the Saddleworth and Oldham group of Whit Friday Band Contests celebrated their success as winners of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The award, created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, is the group equivalent of an MBE.
Bob Rodgers, co-ordinator of the group, received the inscribed crystal trophy and certificate, signed by the Queen, on behalf of the contests from Deputy Lieutenant of Manchester Shauna Dixon MBE, who was assessor for their award.
Much of the accreditation for the QAVS had been for the inclusive nature of the contests and that they were something families could enjoy together.
Shauna commented it was an unusual pleasure to present the award to such a large gathering as normally only two or three people attended presentations.
Proceedings at the Civic Hall in Uppermill began with a short concert by Delph Band which included Whit Friday favourites Slaidburn March and the hymn tune Maccabeus (Thine be the Glory).
As part of his introduction to the concert, musical director Phil Goodwin paid tribute to the entire Whit Friday organisation, thanking all those involved for making the contests possible.
He also pointed out the dedication of volunteers, some having served 50 years or more, and also band personnel. Four members of Delph Band recently celebrated at least 40 years as members.
A potato pie supper – sponsored by Manchester Cabins – was served following the presentation and volunteers were given the opportunity to meet Shauna and take a photograph with the winners’ crystal.
Each contest will receive a professional copy of the certificate and many contests purchased miniatures of the crystal as a memento for volunteers.
John Battye, former Oldham Council Leader and now Saddleworth Parish councillor, nominated the group to receive the QAVS.
Although Saddleworth contests have been in existence for 137 years the Saddleworth and Oldham group has functioned since 1993.