Minibus charity win Queen’s Award for voluntary service

editorial image

Her Majesty The Queen has just announced that 193 outstanding UK volunteering groups have been honoured as recipients of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

In West Sussex one of four successful winners was the Community Minibus Association.

This unique national honour recognises the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers; it has an equivalent status for voluntary groups as the MBE has for individuals.

The West Sussex minibus charity has been providing friendly transport to villages and isolated communities since early 1976. The organisation is distinctive in that it is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, in a variety of different roles; drivers, passenger escorts, booking staff, fleet managers, divisional organisers and many others who ensure the charity’s day-to day-running.

The service operates across rural West Sussex, using 13 minibuses with centres located in Ashington, Billingshurst, Five Villages (south of A27), Petworth, Pulborough, Storrington, Steyning and Wisborough Green.

The organisation will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s representative in West Sussex, Mrs Susan Pyper, the Lord-Lieutenant, at a special ceremony arranged by the Lieutenancy office.

Honorary Secretary Rodger Hunt and his wife Barbara, representing the charity, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 24 where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Mrs Pyper said: “I am absolutely delighted that four of our outstanding voluntary organisations in the County have been selected as winners of this most prestigious award. I hope that their success will act as a spur to our many other voluntary organisations in West Sussex to encourage them to seek formal recognition of the excellence of their work.”

Chairman of West Sussex minibus, Alistair Sheppard OBE said: “We are extremely proud and honoured to receive this award, which coincides with our 40th anniversary this year. Our tremendous group of unpaid volunteers help to maintain essential support to local communities across rural West Sussex. Passengers enjoy our friendly service and look forward to meeting both new friends and old during their trips. This award is a tribute to all the dedicated work by our volunteers, past and present.”