Sharnbrook Mill Theatre volunteers presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service… at last!

Following months of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, on 17th September 2021, the volunteer team at Sharnbrook Mill Theatre was finally presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. QAVS is equivalent to the MBE and is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. Here’s Trust Chairman Douglas Pope with more news from the evening!

Douglas and Virginia Pope enter Sharnbrook Mill Theatre for the QAVS presentation

What an evening!

Friday 17th September 2021 finally arrived when we could welcome everyone to the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

In the presence of The Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, The High Sheriff, Eric Masih and the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, plus members and volunteers, we assembled in the Clubroom.

After drinks, we were treated to a sumptuous supper platter, accompanied throughout by Kaye Tompkins playing a miscellany of show music.

Kaye Tompkins accompanied the Clubroom festivities with music from the musicals

We then assembled in the Theatre where our compere for the evening, Tim Jackson-Waite, welcomed the Lord Lieutenant.

The Lord Lieutenant, as the Queen’s representative, stressed the importance and magnitude of the Award which is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a voluntary body. The scroll, signed by Her Majesty the Queen, was presented to me as Chairman and the plinth to Bob Hart, our most senior member. I, as Chairman, responded with thanks to the Lord Lieutenant and all guests present.

The Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, presents the award to Douglas Pope and Bob Hart

It was an unbelievably emotional and proud moment for me personally to receive the award on behalf of everyone.

There followed an Honorary Lifetime Membership presentation to Gary Hearn for services to the Trust and the cutting of the Celebration Cake by Alice Toner (the youngest member present) and Bob Hart (our most senior member). A superb revue was performed by members with songs and excerpts from plays with the additional guest appearance of Jamie Tyler, one of our past members and now a celebrated professional!

Our teams had, together, planned the arrangements for the evening over many months in an endeavour to offer everyone the very best in hospitality and entertainment and they certainly achieved that in spades. It was a wonderful evening for all those present and one that will go down as one of the greatest in Sharnbrook Mill Theatre history. I closed with the words of an old Greek proverb that I thought entirely appropriate:

“A society grows great when people plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”