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Volunteers celebrate award at Buckingham Palace garden party

Updated: Jun 4

On Tuesday 21st May, two of our incredible Marmalade Trust volunteers, David and Alison, attended a Garden Party hosted by the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.

We were thrilled to be invited to celebrate receiving the prestigious King's Award for Voluntary Service.

The afternoon soiree was hosted by The Prince of Wales on behalf of the King at Buckingham Palace. Prince William was joined by his cousins, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Peter Philips, Zara Tindall and her husband, Mike Tindall.

David and Alison told us Prince William was all smiles, despite the showers, as he chatted and shook hands with guests, and they both enjoy tea and cake in the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace.

Alison, one of our longest standing volunteers and told us: "I volunteer because it is great to see happy faces and it makes me grateful that I can help out. I have met so many wonderful people, both Marmalade employees and members".

David, told us: "I find great satisfaction in volunteering so that I can use my skills to help others and also to be part of a team – large or small. Specifically with the Marmalade Trust it is very clear that a number of people do live very lonely lives and hopefully we bring a bit of cheer to them.

"Last year Marmalade was lucky enough to receive the Kings Award for Voluntary Service. I was very honoured to have been selected to be one of the volunteers to be selected to represent Marmalade at the Garden Party. I had received the very ornate invitation to attend and was very excited as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Unfortunately it was pouring with rain which did not let up the whole afternoon. We went through the palace gates and then the side entrance into the garden with the lawns and gardens looking immaculate. There were 2 bands at either end of the lawn and they alternated playing in the afternoon. We made our way to the tea tent which was a massive long marquee and very efficient queuing.

We had finger sandwiches with a choice of cucumber, ham or egg mayonnaise and an amazing array of cakes. All very delicious. It was then time for the royal party to walk down the avenues op people that had been created. We were about 4 people back which combined with the umbrellas did not give us a good view.

Eventually arriving home I was soaked through, exhausted but having had a most memorable event!"

The King's Award for Voluntary Service

Equivalent to an MBE, the King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, and we are truly humbled to be recognised for our commitment to raising awareness about loneliness and fostering connections. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, this award adds a special sparkle to a decade of impactful work.

Over the past 10 years, 1000’s of incredible volunteers have supported us in our mission to create a society where we recognise that loneliness exists and support each other to find new friendships and connections.

A particular highlight in our journey has been the launch of Loneliness Awareness Week in 2017, a groundbreaking event instrumental in breaking down the stigma associated with loneliness. This annual event has grown each year, both nationally and internationally, thanks to the passion and hard work of our dedicated volunteers.

And let's not forget the heartwarming Christmas Cheer event on Christmas Day, where companionship and joy are spread to those who would otherwise be alone – a true testament to the power of community.

The King’s Award acknowledges the tireless efforts of not only our staff and partners but, most importantly, our incredible volunteers. Your dedication has contributed to a more inclusive and connected society, and for that, we are profoundly grateful.

Our founder and CEO, Amy Perrin, sums up our feelings perfectly, "We are deeply honoured to receive The King’s Award, especially as we celebrate our 10th anniversary. This award reflects the incredible passion and hard work of our team, and our dedicated supporters and volunteers. It also reaffirms our belief that, together, we can create a society that acknowledges loneliness and supports each other to find new social connections.”

As we look ahead to the next decade, the King’s Award serves as a symbol of our commitment to promoting a more compassionate and connected world. We hope that more people will want to join our volunteer team and see firsthand what a difference volunteering can make. We are so proud of all we have achieved, and we couldn’t do any of it without the skill, care and dedication of our amazing volunteers.


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