I was lucky enough to join dozens of guests at Lee Valley White Water Centre last week to attend Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s 2017 Volunteers Party and awards ceremony.
The annual event, which aims to recognise and celebrate the work achieved by volunteers in and around Lee Valley, was opened by the Regional Park Authority’s Chief Executive Shaun Dawson who welcomed the 90-strong audience to the London 2012 legacy venue before thanking volunteers for their contribution to the park.
Maurice Bond from Edmonton, a veteran volunteer with over 13 years of experience working across the 10,000 acre park, was awarded the grand title of Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his continued contribution working with the park’s Ranger Service. Maurice was also named winner in the Nature and Open Spaces award category, beating nine fellow volunteers for the accolade.
In light of the park’s 50th anniversary this year, I had the honour of presenting a special Golden Litter Picker award to Murray Scott from Goffs Oak and Noele Spires from Waltham Abbey - both committed litter pickers.
In the Sports and Venues category, Johann Meeke from Barnet was awarded the 2017 honour in recognition of his work coaching customers and assisting the Paddlesports team at Lee Valley White Water Centre.
The Volunteer Group or Club of the Year winners were revealed to be the Butterfly Volunteer Group, a crew of passionate wildlife enthusiasts who have been closely monitoring butterfly populations and habitats through the park since 2012 and contributing their findings to the national database. As a result of their efforts, two new butterfly colonies have been discovered in the park.
Additional winners on the evening included Jennifer Bearman from Enfield and Brian Claxton from Cheshunt who received Long Service Awards in recognition of their respective 5 and 10 year service.
Paul Roper, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said: “Lee Valley Regional Park is always a hive of activity, with staff and volunteers out in force seven days a week, working to make sure our venues and open spaces are the best they can be.
“This is why the Lee Valley Volunteers Party and awards ceremony is always a joy to arrange and attend as it’s an opportunity for staff, partner organisations and Regional Park Authority Board Members to meet and speak with many of our volunteers in person and thank them for their time and efforts.
“To date, our network of volunteers has collectively worked a total of 16,000 hours this year alone – this is an amazing achievement. Congratulations to this year’s award winners and the many more volunteers that donate their time to the park.”
I had a wonderful evening and would like to thank Lee Valley for their kind invitation.
To get involved in volunteering and for more information about the park’s Volunteers Service, head to visitleevalley.org.uk/volunteers