I am pleased to inform the club members and especially those which have involved themselves with the Telford Tree of Light over 21 years that the London Gazette today stated that her Majesty had awarded the Telford Tree of Light the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. This is the equivalent of a MBE for an individual.
Paul Booth, Chairman of the Rotary Clubs of Telford and District Trust Fund issued the following press release:
Congratulations have been pouring in following today’s announcement that the Rotary Telford Tree of Light has won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017. Amongst the first to congratulate the Telford Tree of Light on their achievement was Rotarian John Sayer, Governor of the District that covers Shropshire, Staffordshire and parts of the West Midlands. He said today: “This is excellent news – congratulations to all concerned. It is a well-earned reward for many years of service to the local community.”
Rotarian Paul Booth, Chairman of the Trustees, said the four Rotary clubs which organise the Telford Tree of Light, Ironbridge, Telford Centre, The Wrekin and Wellington, were both ‘honoured and delighted’ to receive this significant award. “It is especially appropriate that the award has been received at the end of its 21st year of operation,” said Paul.
“From small beginnings, the operation has grown into a major annual undertaking, with the preparatory work commencing in April and culminating in a presentation evening in February/March. “The bulk of the activity takes place from late October to Christmas when people are given the opportunity to commemorate the names of their loved ones. These names are then displayed around a Tree in the Telford Shopping Centre and in other locations around the town. “They are also printed in the local paper, the Telford Journal, and on the Tree of Light website. Over 5,000 names are now regularly remembered each year.”
In addition to the opportunity to commemorate the names of loved ones, applicants are requested to donate a minimum of £5 – it has remained at that figure for 21 years – per name to local charities. Fifty percent of the funds raised are given to the local Severn Hospice with the remaining 50% shared between local charities nominated by each of the four Rotary clubs.
Over the 21 years, nearly £550,000 has been raised with over £250,000 donated to the hospice and the remainder shared between 50 local charities.
Said Paul: “The whole operation can only function with the voluntary efforts of Rotarians from each of the four clubs and this is estimated at around 3,000 hours per annum. “In addition, we are indebted to so many organisations who have helped to sponsor and support the Telford Tree of Light over many years, including Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, Single Source, Telford Journal, Telford Reprographics, Telford Shopping Centre and Wellington Market Company. “These, together with other corporate sponsors, have underwritten all the costs and allowed all the funds raised to go direct to the charitable organisations.”
He added: “Most of all we are indebted to all our supporters who so dearly wish to commemorate their loved ones at Christmas time. We look forward to continuing to provide this service in 2017 and for many years to come.”