Shoreham volunteers honoured to receive King’s Award for Voluntary Service, one of only four in West Sussex for 2023
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Chairman Gary Baines said: “The award is a fabulous and fitting tribute to all our volunteers who have worked tirelessly, and for so many years, to ensure the preservation of Shoreham Fort, a 19th Century Scheduled Monument at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach.
"As a registered charity, we rely entirely on voluntary support, and we’ve recently experienced a challenging few years. This is a huge boost to us all, giving official recognition for the sterling work, energy and passion, that all our team display. Our major achievements have included installing both the UK’s last useable World War One Nissen hut and our replica training trench, which is an officially designated War Memorial.”
Secretary Sharon Penfold said: “It’s important to remember, the Friends not only conserve and maintain our physical heritage, but we also run a vibrant education and outreach programme to share the Fort’s history, helping to preserve our heritage for generations to come.
"Friends of Shoreham Fort would like to offer our sincere thanks to Robert Pooley, Pooley Sword Ltd, for nominating us. Bob has supported Gary and the project from 2010, before I came onboard and before we became a registered charity in 2012.”
As part of today’s announcement, the Friends would also like to congratulate the three other voluntary organisations in West Sussex who have also been honoured – Amberley Museum; Selsey Community Forum and South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre.
The Friends will receive the award crystal and certificate from the Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Emma Barnard, next year. Additionally, two of the volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
The Lord-Lieutenant commented: "I'm absolutely delighted that these four exceptional organisations are amongst the very first in the United Kingdom to receive the Awards in the name of King Charles III. My warmest congratulations go to them all! This is truly well deserved – all nominations are very rigorously assessed indeed, and the Awards are extremely hard to achieve. I'm looking forward very much indeed to meeting them all and presenting the Awards on behalf of His Majesty in the coming months.
Andy Bliss, High Sheriff of West Sussex, said: “As High Sheriff of West Sussex I was greatly privileged, earlier this year, to be shown around Shoreham Fort by Gary Baines and Sharon Penfold. They, and their fellow volunteers from the Friends of Shoreham Fort charity, have done a brilliant job over the years and worked so hard to protect and promote this heritage asset which has played an important part in the history of the County and the defence of the Realm. This highly prestigious award, recognising the valuable work this charity does, is richly deserved. I encourage everyone to visit this fascinating fort, when the volunteers are on site, to learn about and enjoy it – it is a real gem.”
Jo Shiner, Chief Constable Sussex Police, has also sent congratulations: “On behalf of Sussex Police, I am absolutely delighted to hear that Friends of Shoreham Fort have been awarded the Kings Award for Voluntary Service, a prestigious award which rewards the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers. Congratulations and well done to you all and thank you for your commitment in helping to protect and promote our local heritage.”