CELEBRATIONS were under way after a Burton-based charity was awarded the Queen’s Award.
Project leaders at the Kingfisher Project were delighted to reveal they had been handed the highest award for voluntary groups.
Keith Lemare, 65, runs the volunteer group in partnership with Trent & Dove and provides garden projects across Burton.
He said: “It is a fantastic achievement and it really doesn’t get any better than this award – it is the icing on the cake.
“I haven’t really got the words to describe the feeling; it’s just a fantastic achievement for the group.
“It has taken a lot of hard work but it is fantastic recognition for everyone involved and they should be so proud.”
The news had been kept secret until an embargo was lifted.
Mr Lemare gathered the volunteers to tell them at a celebration party.
It was a double celebration for the group, as it opened a community garden in the Trent & Dove complex in Beresford Close.
The garden will be open for use by residents of Beresford Close.
Speaking at the opening of the community garden in Beresford Close, which is part of the Kingfisher Project, Ursula Bennion, chief executive of Trent & Dove Housing spoke of her enormous admiration and respect for the community partnership which had made the project such a success.
She said: “It is an enormous honour to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – especially in Her Majesty’s 90th year.
“The Kingfisher Project represents the very pinnacle of tenant-led participation and demonstrates the transformative effect local communities can have on their environment
This award is testament to the continuous and tireless hard work of a whole community and in particular that of Keith Lemare, one of the founding members of this project.
“His continued dedication has seen the project grow and develop to meet the community’s new and emerging needs.”
The garden has been designed to fit in with the National Forest and Mr Lemare hopes it will be of great use.
He added: “I hope people will enjoy the garden as it is for them.”
Mr Lemare thanked Dawn Maddin from Trent & Dove for helping him through a difficult year personally.
There was a special plaque put up in the garden for Eaton Foundation volunteer Martin Lenny Harrison, who died suddenly in March.
The Kingfisher Project is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.