The Antrim Festival Group have been presented with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County of Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie, CVO OBE.
A special presentation ceremony was held at The Old Courthouse, Antrim.
The Award is the highest form of civic recognition that can be granted to an organisation in recognition of the outstanding work of volunteers. A recent announcement from Buckingham Palace named Antrim Festival Group as one of 22 recipients from Northern Ireland to receive this award.
Peter Dalton, Chair of Antrim Festival Group, said: “It was an honour to be nominated for this prestigious award and to achieve it has delighted us all. We have been in existence for seven years and the time, effort, learning and expertise displayed by a team of twelve has borne fruit, in that the festival has grown year on year. The Antrim Festival Group really impress with what a small team of dedicated people can achieve!”
Attending the prestigious event, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth congratulated the Antrim Festival Group, he said: “I am delighted to see The Antrim Festival Group receive this award for their exceptional work they deliver throughout the year. They are worthy recipients of this award and great ambassadors for the Town of Antrim, congratulation to them all.”
The Northern Ireland Representative for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) Walter Rader OBE said: “This is a wonderful achievement for the Antrim Festival Group as it recognises the dedication, commitment and skills of volunteers who every day of the week invest their time to help others.”
Over 150 invited guests attended the event, which offered a great line up of entertainment including The Round Tower Integrated School Choir, The Nine Glens School of Irish Dancing and The Department for Communities N.I Community Choir. In addition to the presentation of the Award, the event also included an element of recognition of the support given to the Queens Award by the outgoing Lord Lieutenant of the County of Antrim Mrs Joan Christie CVO, OBE who was there in one of her final official duties. She heard a message from The Chair of Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Sir Martyn Lewis CBE and Piper Jade Cooke performed her own commissioned piece of music in honour of Mrs Christie called Salute to the Lord-Lieutenant which had the audience on their feet.
The Antrim Festival group are a team of twelve local volunteers, with the aim of encouraging greater community involvement; to create a sense of pride in the town which participants live and work - to build confidence and create a general feel good factor within the area.
The group organise a variety of events, including the annual Antrim Summer Festival which this year had 30,000 visitors over its 10 day run. This group continue to go from strength to strength each year.
A special presentation was made to the Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE on which was her last official engagement before she steps down from the role later this month.