Highest honour for the Friends of St Cross

Members of the Friends' main committee, the Lord Lieutenant, the Mayor and guests pictured in front of a portrait of Richard Henry Wood, the founder of the hospital. Photo by Eddie White.
Members of the Friends' main committee, the Lord Lieutenant, the Mayor and guests pictured in front of a portrait of Richard Henry Wood, the founder of the hospital. Photo by Eddie White.
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The Friends of St Cross has formally received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

It is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, presented the award and was accompanied by Hamish Gray-Cheape, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, and Eric Wood, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.

They were members of the evaluation panel that examined the Friends’ nomination and recommended it for approval by the Cabinet Office.

Mr Cox said it was a pleasure to visit the hospital and present the award.

He said: “I am delighted to be commanded by the Queen to present the charity with this award in recognition of excellent work that the charity has done over the past 59 years – recruiting over 200 volunteers to serve in various ways in the hospital and raising over £3 million.

“It has provided much needed equipment which improves the patient experience in the hospital, the local community and the mental health services.”

He added: “The scale of the achievement of this honour is reflected in the fact that the Friends of St Cross is the only charity to receive this award in Warwickshire and one of only 111 nationally recognised this year.”

The Friends of St Cross was established in 1955.

The group has spent £1 million on medical equipment and projects over the last ten years.

Joan Jesson, president of the Friends, said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to accept this award on behalf of the charity.

“Over the 59 years that our organisation has been in existence, over £3 million has been donated to health services in Rugby, which would not have been possible without the generosity of the local community, and the hard work and commitment of our volunteers.

“Over that period of time there have been a great many individuals, some of whom are sadly not with us today, but with their hard work built a solid foundation on which we have developed our organisation and kept their ethos of wanting to make a difference to the patient experience.”

She added: “I would like to thank Juliet Starkey for nominating our charity and members of the Lord Lieutenants’ office who interviewed some of our trustees and volunteers, and put forward a recommendation for us to receive this award.

“All of the volunteers feel honoured and very proud to have their work acknowledged by being presented with this prestigious award.”