South Kesteven District Council Chairman Cllr Gloria Johnson has paid tribute to Stamford’s air cadet squadron on receiving one of the very first King’s Awards for Voluntary Service.
Cllr Johnson provided a testimonial to the achievements of 2071 Stamford Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets while she was Mayor of Stamford last year, but the awards were held up because of the death of Her Majesty the Queen.
The Stamford squadron was one of just three organisations in Lincolnshire to receive the new King’s Award recognising the charitable endeavours of inspiring volunteer-led groups.
It’s the highest accolade given in recognition of outstanding community service and seen as the equivalent of an MBE within the voluntary sector.
Cllr Johnson said: “I am delighted and proud to think that I have helped in some small way to this award. These cadets are a remarkable set of youngsters, like one big family all looking after each other, and that’s so important in today’s world. I go along to their meetings when I can and they make me so welcome.
“The work they do in the community is incredible, and they have raised an amazing amount of money to help others. The volunteers and instructors also deserve a big thank you for the time they give.”
Cllr Johnson also helped with fund-raising for the cadets ‘above and beyond’ medals awarded for cadets going the extra mile – and was awarded one herself for her support.
Squadron Commander Richard Gatward-Clarke expressed his appreciation for Cllr Johnson’s support.
He said: “We are extremely proud to receive this award which reflects just how much our squadron contributes to the community. Our cadets change as they grow and achieve so much along the way. It helps them to be better people.”
Formerly known as The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the annual award was established in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. In February 2023 it was announced that the award would become The King’s Award.
Awarded to volunteer-led groups for their charitable endeavours, this year 227 organisations from England, 20 from Scotland, six from Wales and nine from Northern Ireland have received the first ever King’s Award.
The other Lincolnshire award winners were the International Bomber Command centre in Lincoln, preserving, protecting and sharing the heritage of Bomber Command for the education and benefit of all, and the RAF Ingham Heritage Centre for honouring and remembering the men and women of the Polish Air Force Bomber Squadrons in Britain.