Friends of Chichester Hospital celebrated as they were awarded for their camaraderie and sense of purpose.
The volunteers were presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony on Tuesday at the Council House in North Street.
Susan Pyper, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, presented the chairman of the group, Jane Ramage, with the prestigious award – the highest one given to volunteer groups across the UK.
Mrs Pyper said:
“I feel very proud. You have done extraordinarily well.
“The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is incredibly prestigious.
“So many organisations and charities apply and I can tell you right now that only a small per cent actually get to where we are today. Few get to this presentation ceremony.
“They haven’t got that discipline, that camaraderie, that sense of purpose.
“They haven’t got what it takes to be the number one tier.
“Believe me, you guys have got what it takes, and that is shown through this award.”
The Friends offer a daily trolley service for patients, as well as running their popular hospital shop, which provides a variety of everyday items.
The volunteer group was selected in June to receive the award as part of the annual list.
At the ceremony the Friends were presented with a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed crystal glass.
Chairman Jane Ramage said:
“This is the most special occasion we could have ever hoped for to come as friends in terms of the recognition of the service we provide to our hospitals.
“I think that the amazing people who some 70 years ago set up these services could have had no inkling at all that there would ever be an occasion like this.
“We are extremely fortunate that the award exists and that we were fortunate enough to be nominated and to get through the process.”
Jane thanked Sir Brian Thwaites, who was the one who put the Friends forward for the award in the first place.
She also thanked Captain Hugh Knox, an ex-patient, who was one of the independent people required to say how valuable their work is.
The group was put under immense scrutiny throughout the process.