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Luton Irish Forum volunteers recognised with Queen’s honour

Baby and toddler group

Luton Irish Forum’s volunteers have won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020.

The honour recognises the outstanding contributions that groups of volunteers make to local communities, very much like an MBE does for individuals.

Irish Ambassador greets LIF’s first volunteer Joan Vine when visiting in July 2018

Noelette Hanley, Chief Officer of Luton Irish Forum, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our 60 volunteers and they thoroughly deserve it. This demonstrates their amazing commitment and the exceptional difference they make to the lives of other local people.”

Tom Scanlon, Chair of Luton Irish Forum, said: “We are very grateful to Lord McKenzie for our nomination and the members of the QAVS panel that took time to meet our volunteers and speak with them about what they do and the difference it makes to people.”

Luke Kitching, trustee and volunteer delivering shopping to Tom as part of LIF’s COVID-19 Shopping Service

Luton Irish Forum volunteers are involved in all aspects of the charity’s work, including sitting on the Board of Trustees, running all the regular social groups (e.g. Baby and Toddlers, Art, Irish language, Tea & Chat, Choir, Pipe Band, Calligraphy) befriending service, planning events, fundraising and public speaking.

Presentation of the award by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and the associated celebrations are on hold due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

St Brigid’s Day Volunteers

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis said: “I was delighted to hear that Luton Irish Forum were awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The group has grown and flourished so much since it was formed over 20 years ago and still has some its original volunteers on its books. The Forum not only provides much valued support to the Irish community in Luton, but also works hard to promote community cohesion and community engagement across all ethnic/faith groups. My sincere congratulations to everyone at Luton Irish Forum; I look forward to the time when I can visit in person and present the award on behalf of HM The Queen”

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