Queen recognises volunteers
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THE TOWN'S most well-known volunteers were presented with a citation from Queen Elizabeth II presented by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston.
Representatives of Forres In Bloom (FIB) attended a ceremony at St Leonard's Church to accept the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, equivalent to the MBE and the highest award that can be made to a voluntary group.
The citation reads: "Forres In Bloom have completed thirty years of intergenerational work in the community to enhance the quality of life and boost the local economy. We being cognisant of of the said group's outstanding voluntary work in the community and being desirous of showing Our Royal Favour do hereby confer upon it The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service."
FIB secretary Sandra Maclennan said: "It was a very happy occasion. Over 60 people came including some of the founders and volunteers over the years. It was wonderful to have such a good attendance.
"There was an open invitation to the local community because the award was not just for the volunteers who were present but for all those who have contributed over three decades.
"Our patron, The Hon Mark Laing, whose grandfather Sir Alexander Grant gifted Grant Park to the people of Forres, Moray Council Convener Shona Morrison, Councillors Claire Feaver, Lorna Creswell and Aaron McLean, and Forres Community Councillor Alan Tissiman were also present.
"Angus Hull's music for the event was greatly appreciated."
Deputy Lt, Maj Gen Seymour Monroe explained why he had nominated FIB for the recognition before the oldest and youngest volunteers, Bert Logie (93) and Erin Mather (4) accepted the award on behalf of the group.
Mrs Maclennan thanked Dep Lt Seymour Monro for nominating the group along with Cllr Alexander and Community Champion for Scotland with the RHS and Beautiful Scotland, Keith Jackson. t
She said: "Our motto is We Love Where We Live because we love this very special town and we show our love and pride of place by maintaining it to the highest standard possible for residents and to attract visitors to boost the local economy.
"FIB is like a tree: the beautiful canopy of leaves and blossom is the floral displays and green spaces around the town; the trunk, strong and sure, is the committee members and volunteers who ensure its sustainability; a tree's roots spread out of sight and cover as large an area as the canopy, this is the many hundreds of Forres residents who, over the years have contributed financially, in kind and with moral support.
"If we had a £1 for every kind comment and thanks we have received we would be able to cut all the grass in Forres.
"Forres is greatly honoured to be given this prestigious award by Her Majesty the Queen, the highest award for voluntary service, and we will cherish the honour into the future."
Douglas Ross MP, who was also in attendance, added: "This is a richly deserved award. The fact there were only 19 recipients across Scotland this year, and only one in Moray, shows how tough it is to be recognised in this way.
"The commitment and dedication of the volunteers being out in all weathers is extraordinary, from the young FiBees to older members, they work together and produce fantastic results."
FIB's AGM is in Forres Town Hall at 7pm on Wednesday, November 27. The group needs new volunteers, especially younger residents, to carry on in to the future.