Volunteers at the North Norfolk Railway which runs magnificently restored steam and heritage diesel trains between Sheringham and Holt have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
The railway operates along 5½ miles of restored track from Sheringham to Weybourne and Holt with almost all the tasks necessary to run the trains being carried out by a team of around 300 dedicated volunteers. The line is one of the county’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming around 165,000 passengers per annum with steam trains running daily from April to October.
The North Norfolk Railway is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including: a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales, and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.
Representatives of the railway will receive the award crystal and certificate from The Lady Dannatt, MBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from the line will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Hugh Harkett, Managing Director, said ‘We are very proud to receive this Award, our volunteers really are the life blood of the Railway and we are continually thankful for their dedication and support. The North Norfolk Railway is a not for profit enterprise so the support of volunteers is really crucial to our survival and we are delighted that the fantastic contribution they make has been recognised in this way.
He added, “The railway is always looking for new volunteers and we have a Volunteer Showcase this Saturday for potential new recruits where they can see how the Railway runs and have the opportunity to talk to experienced volunteers about how they can get involved.”
Those interested in attending on Saturday June 4 are asked to get in touch with the Railway by email via [email protected] or by phone by 01632 820800, option 4 then 1. The Railway is particularly looking for volunteers to help with welcoming visitors and inspecting tickets, assisting in the gift shops and buffets and also helping run the ever popular dining trains.
Full details of the event and the North Norfolk Railway’s daily services can be found at www.nnrailway.co.uk.