Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire presents the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Sulgrave Village Shop Volunteers

On behalf of all the volunteers, past and present, Joanna Smyth-Osbourne receives the Award from James Saunders-Watson, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.

It is now some time since the news first broke of the grant of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the volunteers at Sulgrave Village. The formal presentation of the Award has been somewhat delayed, not least by the death of Her Majesty. To save unnecessary repetition it is suggested that those viewing this item should first read the background to this Award, as published earlier on this website.

On Friday 14th October, the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders-Watson, visited the village shop in order to make the formal presentation of the award, comprising a crystal and a certificate.

Robin Prior on the left, Shop Committee member since its formation, welcomed the Lord Lieutenant, together with Joanna Smyth-Osbourne, representing the many volunteers. The crystal is being presented to Joanna and the certificate can be seen in the background.

The certificate (click on the image to enlarge it).

See next page for more pictures of the presentation event, for which I am indebted to Jo Powell, member of the Sulgrave Camera Club.

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The local Banbury Guardian Newspaper covered this event and reported as follows:

Lord Lieutenant James Saunders-Watson said: “This shop is the archetypal of a winner of the Queen’s Award. It’s a volunteer-led community enterprise. When the previous shop shut in 2002, the village suddenly realised they needed something to replace it and they came together and took over the old reading room and converted it into a shop that has since become the beating heart of the community. The lovely thing about coming here and being able to celebrate with the community is to see them get the recognition for all they have done over the last 18 years in building up such a successful enterprise.”

Shop volunteer Joanna Smyth-Osbourne said: “We are so proud to receive this prestigious award, which is a wonderful recognition of 18 years of hard work from the dedicated band of volunteers, many of whom have been involved throughout the shop’s life.”

She added: “To be acknowledged for this award when there are only 200 given out each year is very important to our volunteers. It is hard work trying to keep the volunteer band going but with this recognition, it shows it is well worth doing the hard work to receive it. It’s such an amazing cornerstone to our community, not just for what the shop provides but the community spirit and the help we give to each other.”

The shop was noted for its work during the lockdowns, when it remained open ensuring elderly and vulnerable villagers had their groceries delivered to their doors.

Mel Kirkpatrick, the shop’s volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We had people put their shopping lists through the shop door and we packaged their orders up and delivered them around the village community, including those that were shielding so that nobody went without food for the whole of the lockdown. I’m very proud to be a part of the Sulgrave shop community. It’s a big family and we are always looking for new volunteers to join us.”














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