St Cross Friends' pride at Royal honour - The Rugby Observer
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St Cross Friends' pride at Royal honour

Rugby Editorial 4th Jun, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

ROYAL approval has been given to the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross which has been honoured with a Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

The group – which is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary – is the only organisation in Warwickshire, and one of just 111 across the country, to get the award that holds the equivalent status as the MBE does for individuals.

A certificate personally signed by the Queen will be presented to the group in the coming weeks and some members will go along to one of the Royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace this year.

Friends chairman Heather Green told The Observer there was a huge sense of pride among the group which has been raising money for St Cross as well as providing a team of voluntary workers there since 1955.

“It’s wonderful that we are thought of so highly of. There’s a lot of prestige especially with our own Diamond Jubilee coming next year,” she said.

“We’ve not been able to say anything about it until Monday so many of our volunteers do not know about it yet, the news will only just be starting to filter through.

“When they do hear they will feel proud I’m sure. As a committee we make it a priority to recognise and thank our volunteers – we could not exist without them.

“I knew about the award three weeks ago and it has been difficult not to tell people, but now we can all feel very proud. It’s a group thing so we can all take credit from this.”

The Friends currently have around 200 volunteers and since forming have raised over £3million to buy equipment over and above what the NHS can afford. Some 98p in every £1 raised is spend at the town’s hospital.

Mrs Green, who herself used to work there, retiring seven years ago as head of X-ray, added: “We are needed more than ever.

“It’s got to the point where the hospital management know they won’t be able to buy things themselves so they really do rely on us. I don’t think there are many pieces of equipment that don’t have our name on them and I can’t see it stopping.”

The group was nominated for the Queen’s Award by hospital manager Juliet Starkey.

She told us: “The Friends give fantastic support to the staff at the hospital and their donations have made a clear difference to the patient experience in St Cross.

“There is not an operational department that has not at some time benefited from a donation from the Friends and so I was pleased to nominate them for this

national recognition.”

Details of the Friends next big fund-raising project will be announced at their AGM on June 16.

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