Southwater community hero receives rare special honour

A rare special honour has been bestowed on a Southwater community hero.

Robert Piper – who has worked tirelessly on a range of village causes – has been hailed as ‘Platinum Champion’, a rare prestigious award from the Royal Voluntary Service.

It marks his outstanding long-term work for the Southwater community.

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Around 10,000 volunteers were nominated but Robert was one of only 490 people across the country privileged to receive the award marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Robert Piper with his Platinum Champion award

The awards, launched by the Duchess of Cornwall as president of the Royal Voluntary Service, celebrate the country’s volunteering spirit and the example set by the Queen, the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years of service.

Robert is, and has been, actively involved in many community activities in Southwater, including Parish Council member, Village Hall chairman, Welcome Club volunteer, Local History Group vice chairman, The War Memorial Committee and the Horticultural Society Committee.

He was also responsible in 2015 for obtaining the first 24/7 public access defibrillator via a government funded scheme.

Additionally, Robert is a member of Southwater’s Patient Participation Group for the local surgery.

He has also been responsible for sourcing and successfully applying for numerous grants from the Lottery, local Government, Business and Charitable Trusts and also from the Co-op Local Community Fund.

Further afield, he also participates in The Royal Sussex Regimental Association and The Not Forgotten Association and was a keen volunteer at Shipley Windmill.

In recognition of his service to Southwater, the Parish Council awarded Robert ‘Freedom of the Village’ in 2020.