Foyle Search and Rescue honoured with The Queens Award

Foyle Search & Rescue, in Derry/Londonderry recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016

A voluntary group from Northern Ireland who works in the community in a suicide prevention & search & rescue role has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Foyle Search & Rescue was established by local people in July 1993 in response to the alarming number of deaths by Suicide in the river Foyle. Since then, the Charity have adopted the role of protecting life in and around the river Foyle and have become an integral part of the community, recognised locally as the “fourth emergency service”. The Charity provide a 24 hour Emergency Response Team (ERT) as well as providing a visible presence along the City’s riverbanks and bridges on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Since FSRs inception in 1993, the Charity have rescued 329 people from the river, and helped in excess of 2,700 potentially suicidal people.

Chairman Mr Stephen Twells from Foyle Search & Rescue attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace with his wife on Thursday 19th of May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Foyle Search & Rescue is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards given to groups this year is slightly higher than last year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Award winners this year range from a War Memorial Community Trust, providing social facilities for the benefit of the community in Clwyd, Wales, to a club enhancing the community by developing individuals through athletics, in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.

Foyle Search & Rescue will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant for the Borough County of Londonderry later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said:

“I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

“I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements. The huge amount of work and commitment these organisations put into their local communities is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that we can continue to build a more compassionate society.”

Chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue, Stephen Twells said:

“To have been nominated was praise enough but to have won this award is fantastic recognition for the work our volunteers do. Their dedication and passion, to save lives, makes a real difference to our community. Our Charity is a shining example of all that is wonderful about the community spirit in our city and one which we are all extremely proud of.”

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