Three Groups Receive Queen’s Awards

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Three Groups Receive Queen’s Awards thumbnailCarol Doey (centre) and her team at The Hub, Cookstown, from left: Stephanie Sheehy, Claire Murphy, Sharon Brimage and Marie Weir.

THREE Mid-Ulster groups have received recognition from Her Majesty The Queen.

Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society and The Hub BT80 and Superstars, based in Cookstown, have been granted the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The award recognises "outstanding work" in the community "over many years".

It is the latest in a line of prestigious awards attained by the Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society.

Last year, their work saw the village being named the winner of Ulster in Bloom once again and also earning the highly coveted Britain in Bloom award.

At the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom Finals last year in Birmingham, the group also won the first ever Britain in Bloom Award for Overcoming Adversity, acknowledging the tremendous work the society did after two incidents of vandalism on various floral displays in the village.

The society's Chair, Mrs Bernie McKenna, also received a Community Champion Award.

And the society will now be entering the Communities in Bloom international challenge this year.

This prestigious event was first held in 1995 and now involves communities from North America, Europe and Asia.

Competition is intense, with villages being judged on tidiness, environmental awareness, conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas and floral displays.

Judges from Canada and Italy will be visiting Castlecaulfield, with the Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society also targeting a hat trick of victories in Ulster in Bloom this year.

The Hub BT80 in Cookstown opened on the Burn Road in 2013 and has fast become a focal point of the community.

It has been spearheaded by local lady Carol Doey, who was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) by The Queen in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours two years ago.

And the centre itself has now been recognised with this award, which is described as "the MBE for volunteer groups".

It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.

The Superstars Club was formed in 2005 to meet the needs of those of all ages with varying degrees of learning difficulties.

UUP Cllr Trevor Wilson congratulated both all three organisations.

Stated Cllr Wilson:L "The Hub BT80 was established in April 2016 and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. The Hub provides activities for all age groups and is truly cross community.

"For the past three years, for example, volunteers have provided dinner and entertainment on Christmas Day for over 100 elderly people who might otherwise have spent the day alone. The community has supported The Hub since its inception and the positivity it has provided for so many, is immeasurable.

"Similarly I have also witnessed the impact that the Superstars project has had on the lives of many families within Cookstown and surrounding area. Since its formation in 2005 The Superstars Club has been at the very heart of Cookstown; a shining light that has inspired an entire community. The organisation is led by volunteers, all of whom give of their time freely, meeting the needs of those of all ages with varying degrees of learning difficulties.

"At the heart of the group there is a dedicated committee structure which co-ordinates and provides the much needed support to its members, developing their social skills, encouraging their participation and providing an all-important support infrastructure for the parents and siblings of its members and volunteers."


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