Top author joins celebrations as 'incredible' Suffolk charity wins royal honour

Home Start Suffolk has received a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.Anthony Horowitz MBE with Tara

Home-Start in Suffolk has received a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Anthony Horowitz MBE with Tara Spence, Chief executive of Home- Start in Suffolk, pictured at Monday's ceremony. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - the highest honour of its kind in the country - has been presented to an "incredible" Suffolk charity.

Home-Start in Suffolk received the honour on Monday, in a special event attended by best-selling author Anthony Horowitz, who is also the charity's patron.

It recognises the outstanding work done by the charity, which supports families county-wide.

Anthony Horowitz MBE, presented the long service awards to volunteers from Home- Start in Suffolk.

Anthony Horowitz MBE and deputy lieutenant Judith Shallow, centre, presented the awards - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Horowitz began by presenting long service awards to the charity's volunteers.

Then Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Judith Shallow, presented the crystal award to volunteers, Jane Shelley, who has been part of Home-Start in Suffolk since its inception in 1999, and Thomas O'Brien, who joined as a volunteer in 2017. 

Home- Start in Suffolk's longest serving volunteers, Jane Shelley (L) and Thomas O'Brien with Judith

Home-Start in Suffolk volunteers, Jane Shelley (L) and Thomas O'Brien with Judith Shallow, Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mrs Shallow said: “They are an incredible organisation, proven to be first among equals to have been awarded this prestigious accolade, the equivalent of an MBE for groups.

“This organisation could not run without volunteers, many of whom received long-service awards today.  Thanks to an engaged group of trustees and such an efficient and inspiring executive team, the 250-plus volunteers with their caring, hands-on and high-impact support make a difference every day to so many children and families' lives.

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"Their response to the pressures of COVID have helped many more families keep it together in difficult times and no doubt the need for Home-Start's interventions is continuing to grow.  Suffolk is lucky to have them."

Mr Horowitz said: “I was delighted to present the long service awards and celebrate the Queen’s Award with Home-Start in Suffolk. An award so well deserved!”

Over 75 people gathered for the ceremony at Manor Farm Barn, Semer, with the venue provided by James Buckle – who nominated Home-Start in Suffolk for the prestigious award in 2020.

Home- Start in Suffolk has received a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Chief -executive of Home

Home-Start in Suffolk has received a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Chief executive, Tara Spence with Judith Shallow, deputy lieutenant of Suffolk. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Home-Start in Suffolk CEO Tara Spence said: “It was wonderful occasion and a fabulous opportunity to see so many volunteers gathering and expressing what being a volunteer means to them and sharing stories of how the Home-Start in Suffolk has not only changed the lives of the families they have worked with, but their own lives too."

Each of the guests received a memento and volunteers were presented with a special commemorative Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service enamel pin badge.

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