Two Thanet volunteers have been chosen as Coronation Champions.
Peter Hasted from Margate and Brian Urwin from Ramsgate are among 500 outstanding volunteers to be recognised by The King and The Queen Consort as part of the official Coronation celebrations in conjunction with Royal Voluntary Service.
Peter Hasted volunteers with the Sunken Garden Society and has been recognised for his contribution and crowned a Coronation Champion. This follows a call out to the nation to nominate their volunteer heroes. Almost 5000 entries were received, with nominations made for individuals aged 14 up to 103.
Peter impressed judges with his work on a 5 year plan to revive the Sunken Garden in Westbrook which had fallen into a serious state of decline. Peter set up the Sunken Garden Society in 2018 to involve local people in the garden revival.
Five years on the garden is loved by local families and the level of anti-social behaviour is significantly reduced. Peter also volunteers for Westgate Town Council as a Tree Warden and holds regular tree walks.
Brian Urwin is president of the Think Healthy Me CIC which provides coaching and resources to Kent organisations and individuals to help promote and implement health at home and in the workplace. He has also volunteered with the Westcliff Conservation and Community Association.
Brad O’Connell, from Think Healthy Me, said: “Brian has worked hard coaching young, disadvantaged people in terms of their own personal development. Brian helped to set up Think Healthy Me CIC actively helping people in East Kent to live happier and healthier lives and now being recognised by statutory agencies in Thanet as well as encouraging the awareness raising of CPR and defibrillators.
“Brian has also set up the Thanet Community Diabetes Self-Care group as a way diabetics, like himself, can support others.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian set up both the Westcliff Park befriending group and an all-male befriending group to help combat the isolation bought on by the pandemic.”
With the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, a passionate advocate of volunteering and President of Royal Voluntary Service, the Coronation Champions Awards were launched to recognise exceptional volunteers from across the country.
All Coronation Champions, including Peter and Brian, have been invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party. They will also receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by Their Majesties.
Peter said: “It was thrilling to have been nominated, but to have actually been selected as a Coronation Champion on the 5th anniversary of the Sunken Garden Revival is exhilarating.
“The plan to revive the garden was developed with the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust in 2018 for five years. I think we can safely say we have accomplished that plan, throughout many challenges and are excited to see how the garden develops over the next five years.
“There are too many volunteers, sunken gardeners and wider community to list here so a big thank you to everyone who has given up their time to help revive the Garden. Without them this recognition wouldn’t have been possible.”
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “We were completely blown away by the response to the Community Champions Awards and the huge volume of amazing nominees put forward. Our judges had a tough job selecting just 500 Champions from an array of thousands of inspirational individuals, who all deserve to be recognised and commended.
“Each of our Coronation Champions displayed a commitment and contribution that far exceeds any expectation and we’re overjoyed to honour and thank them during this exciting point in history.”
The coronation of King Charles III and The Queen consort takes place on Saturday, 6 May.
Those feeling inspired to try volunteering themselves are encouraged to take part in The Big Help Out on Monday 8th May. The Big Help Out is another official Coronation project, aiming to encourage newcomers to volunteering, bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation weekend.
There are Big Help Out events across Thanet including at The Sunken Gardens, May 8, 2pm-4pm. Monday 8 from 2-4pm. All welcome to come and lend a hand.