The village of Heckington is celebrating a remarkable double success, as not one but two organisations have been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.
Created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation, it is the MBE for volunteer groups.
The honour was bestowed on Heckington and District Agricultural Society (the organisers of the annual Heckington show), and Heckington Windmill Trust.
Typically only around a hundred awards are made each year across the whole of the country, so for two awards to be made to one small community is quite exceptional and possibly unique, according to those involved in handing out the awards. Only three were issued to groups in Lincolnshire this year.
The Show Committee has been organising the village’s annual show faithfully since 1863, last year celebrating their 150th year. In that time it has grown to become the largest village show in the country, attracting crowds of up to 35,000 each year. In fact it is now believed to one of the country’s 25 largest shows of any type, and the largest voluntary-run show in the UK.
Although only 35 years old the Heckington Windmill Trust has achieved a tremendous amount, recently completing the £1.6m regeneration of the unique eight-sail windmill, which received royal attention when it was formally opened by HRH The Princess Royal in October last year.
Both are very much at the heart of their community.
“The awards represent a tremendous achievement for both organisations and are a fitting tribute for everyone who gets involved.
“They can be extremely proud of all that they have achieved both at the show and the windmill over years of dedicated service.
“It is a wonderful acknowledgment of all that has been contributed by so many people, and a great encouragement for the future,” commented Charles Pinchbeck, who happens to be chairman of both the Show Committee and the Windmill Trust.
A signed certificate from Her Majesty The Queen and an English Crystal with the logo insignia will be presented by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Lincolnshire Toby Dennis to the show on the first day of this year’s event - Saturday July 28.
The presentation to the Windmill Trust will take place later in the year.
Mr Dennis commented: “Not that it needed it, but the village of Heckington is now definitely on many people’s ‘recognition app’ as the place to visit.
“The success story of two local community led enterprises demonstrates the verve and vitality of the residents of Heckington and its hinterland.
I am thrilled therefore that The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services has been given to Heckington and District Agricultural Society and Heckington Windmill Trust and I will cherish the opportunity to present their awards on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.”
Volunteers from both the show and windmill gathered at Heckington mill on Saturday celebrate the occasion.
For further details on Heckington Show or Heckington Windmill Trust visit www.heckingtonshow.org and www.heckingtonwindmill.org