The Garden of Reflection within the Walls of Derry/Londonderry was the venue today for the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) ceremony recognising the significant contribution of one of our local voluntary groups.

The QAVS was presented to Foyle Search and Rescue in recognition of their significant voluntary activities within the city.

Foyle Search and Rescue were one of two local organisations from Derry/Londonderry recognised in this years QAVS Awards, the other being Foyle Hospice Volunteers.

The Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Londonderry, Dr Angela Garvey, was joined by a number of civic dignitaries including the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jim McKeever and representatives of the Churches in the City, in what was a significant celebration of the contribution by this group to all sections of society within the City.

The event was hosted by the Inner City Trust who provided light refreshments at the end of the Award Ceremony.

In welcoming the Lord Lieutenant, civic dignitaries, recipients and guests, Helen Quigley Chief Executive of The Inner City Trust expressed her delight that the Garden of Reflection was being used as the venue for an event which recognised the significant voluntary and cross community efforts of Foyle Search and Rescue being recognised today.

Prior to presenting the Awards the Lord Lieutenant Dr Garvey commended the Award winners for their outstanding contribution to volunteering within the City and recognised that for the City to receive two awards out of the total of 193 awards presented nationally was a significant testament to the work of these groups in support of all sections of society. She expressed her gratitude to the many organisations involved in volunteering throughout the City and looked forward to further QAVS nominations in years to come.

In congratulating the award recipients the Deputy Mayor of the City, Jim McKeever, also recognised the outstanding work the Foyle Search and Rescue undertook in the provision of much needed voluntary services for those in need within the City.

In responding to the award, Chairman of the Foyle Search and Rescue Mr Stephen Twells added that it was a great honour for his organisation to receive this significant national recognition for which he and all volunteers within Foyle Search and Rescue are greatly humbled. Mr Twells went on to say “we are extremely proud and honoured to have been recognised for this amazing award, which would not have been possible without the commitment, energy and support of all our volunteers over the years and our families”