Upbeat get prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
- Credit: Archant
Heart patients were all aglow and bursting with pride as they were awarded a highly prestigious award.
For they gathered for the presentation at the Newbury Centre, in St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds, this morning, to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, handed over a trophy and certificate to Sylvia Baker, the chairman of Upbeat Heart Support and Daemmon Reeve, the patron, for their work in providing rehabilitation and exercise classes and social interaction for coronary heart patients.
The group currently has 805 members who meet five times a week in the town and in Long Melford.
It has a team of 45 volunteers and Sylvia said: “This wonderful award publicly recognises the efforts made by our Upbeat volunteers, nurses and instructors over the past 22 years in West Suffolk. It’s the top of the tree for us all and it’s just fantastic.
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“Our motto is if you keep the carer fit then they can look after the patient.
“You can only guess how thrilled I am, I’m trembling inside and I’m so excited.
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“This is a fantastic honour for all of us and Upbeat has worked hard and we have got a great following so we will keep it all going.”
She also praised the work of secretary of the group Hilary Reeve.
Mr Reeve, who is group CEO of Treatt, added: “I doubt if the Newbury Community Centre has seen as many people in this room at the same time which is fantastic. We all know who does the real work and I am so proud of them
and can’t find the words to express how proud I am and long may they continue for it is a truly fantastic thing that they do for so many people in our community.”
The Lord Lieutenant said: “This is a very significant national honour and is an MBE for a charity that is inspired by volunteers and run by volunteers which has grown over the past 22 years.
“What impresses me so deeply is the care and devotion of all those involved helping people to cope with normal life and virtually free of charge.
“But there is so much more to Upbeat; there’s friendship, there’s outings, there’s theatre trips, so I am emmensely honoured to be here today to thank you all.
“Upbeat’s contribution to the health and welfare of heart patients and people living with heart disease in West Suffolk is nothing short of remarkable. There is no other group like them in our region.
“Their contacts in the medical world say they would love to see Upbeat expand, or the idea rolled out nationally, such is the value of the work that they do in saving the NHS lots of money with their rehabilitation, intervention, and preventing many people having to return to hospital.”
The high profile ceremony was attended by a host of civic dignitaries including the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Margaret Marks, the deputy lieutenants Judith Shallow and Claire Horsley, the chairman of Suffolk County Council Michael Ladd, Stephen Singleton from the Suffolk Community Foundation,
and the chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council Andrew Speed.
Upbeat Heart Support is the only voluntary group in Suffolk to receive the Queen’s Award in 2018.
The award is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.
Any group doing voluntary work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award.
Nominations for QAVS for 2019 have already closed but to find out how to nominate a group, go online https:/qavs.direct.gov.uk/ where you will find all the information required to plan a nomination for 2020.
The Lieutenancy office www.suffolk.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/lieutenancy-and-honours would be pleased to advise on putting together a nomination.
All about Upbeat Heart Support group
Upbeat was started in July 1995 by a group of cardiac patients to provide support for those in the community who have had heart attacks, heart surgery or suffer from other heart related problems.
It is based in Bury St Edmunds and since September 2016 in Long Melford.
The group provides exercise opportunities, coffee mornings and arrange social and educational events.
Exercise is currently provided on Friday evenings at Sexton’s Manor Primary School and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at the Newbury Centre, in St Olaves Road, Bury St. Edmunds.
The other session is on Tuesday mornings at Long Melford Old School Community Centre.
Sessions consists of either circuit training or low impact aerobics under the instruction and supervision of specially trained instructors.
There is also the support of a cardiac nurse at every session who is available for advice or a regular blood pressure check.
It holds social “coffee and chat” drop-in sessions and promotes health education
Social events are organised on a regular basis that allow members to meet and help to raise funds and public awareness of the group.
For more information call 01449 774333, 01284 747238 or 01359 232678.