Scarecrows bring a touch of royal class to Gosport awards evening

ROYAL LINE-UP Penny Robinson, from Gosport Voluntary Action, the Mayor of Gosport Councillor Richard Dickson, and Ian Johnson from GVA

ROYAL LINE-UP Penny Robinson, from Gosport Voluntary Action, the Mayor of Gosport Councillor Richard Dickson, and Ian Johnson from GVA

The fire-ravaged flat in Kent Road, Southsea, in which the pensioner died
(C4981-1)

Squalor: Mrs Perry and her five children  the youngest of whom was only five  spent their days and nights in the front half of their lounge (C4981-1)

Cats: Thanks to the kindness of Caroline and the charities which came to their rescue, a family of stray cats was saved from starvation (B4853-1) 

Flood: The pipe was plugged by Portsmouth Water Company workers after 30 minutes (B4928-1)

THIS WEEK IN 1989: Recluse killed in Southsea blaze

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THE royal family has been very busy lately, but that didn’t stop them from presiding over a volunteer awards ceremony – in scarecrow form.

More than 100 Gosport volunteers were honoured for their dedication to others at a ceremony to tie in with the Diamond Jubilee.

And a group of volunteers who have put in enough service to match the Queen’s reign were given a Diamond Volunteer Award by Gosport Voluntary Action.

To bring a touch of royalty to proceedings, organisers spent weeks crafting scarecrow figures of the royal family to recreate the balcony scene from the Queen’s Coronation.

The figures have now been moved to the Gosport Discovery Centre for others to see.

Organiser Penny Robinson, from Gosport Voluntary Action, said: ‘We wanted to recognise that just like the Queen has been on the throne for 60 years, people have also been volunteering for that time.

‘The awards started some time ago but they have come on in leaps and bounds. We wanted to bring the town together.’

Groups which received the Diamond Volunteer Award include the Gosport Community Association, Gosport Rotary Club, Gosport War Memorial League of Friends, Lee Horticultural Society, Rose Road Association and SSAFA Forces Help.

The final award went to 73-year-old Brian Russell, of the Gosporteers, who has been volunteering since he was 11 years old.

Organisers say this year has seen a rise in the number of young volunteers.

There have also been more volunteers in general.

Ian Johnson, the volunteer co-ordinator at Gosport Voluntary Action, said: ‘The work from the volunteers I have seen so far does not cease to amaze me.

‘It’s nothing short of amazing to see how organisations and people unite to support charitable causes and voluntary groups in the community.

‘There is no better place to see that than in Gosport.’

Each award was given out by the mayor of Gosport, Councillor Richard Dickson.

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