Selfless volunteers and carers from around Northumberland were honoured for their dedication, commitment and hard work at a special garden party.
The event, hosted by the Duchess of Northumberland in her role as the county’s Lord Lieutenant, was staged at The Alnwick Garden on Wednesday, June 15.
Now in its third year, the event is thought to be the biggest of its kind in the region, with 300 volunteers and carers from across the county invited to attend with their partners or a guest.
The Duchess said: “I hear so many moving stories of the things people do, for the benefit of others less fortunate, some working for charities, many just doing their own thing, frequently unnoticed, giving help where it is needed most.
“The North East has more volunteers and carers than any other region in the UK. This is our way of thanking people for all the valuable work they do.”
A number of carers and volunteers from the Morpeth and Ponteland areas were invited to the special event, which featured entertainment from the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band, the Wansbeck Ashington Colliery Choir and Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School, while BBC Look North presenter Carol Malia delivered a welcome speech.
Among those to be invited to the garden party was Anne Lloyd, from Ponteland, who was last year awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work with children and drama.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to be at the event. It is very enjoyable and I think the garden party is a brilliant idea to honour carers and volunteers because they are the WD-40 of life – they keep things going.”
Others to attend included representatives from Pegswood Community Hub and Sure Start Northumberland, while Red Row blacksmith Stephen Lunn, who volunteers for the RSPB, was also invited to the event.
Greggs supplied the food, while Ramside supplied the catering equipment and staff. Other sponsors included The Barbour Foundation; Wyevale Garden Centres; Ringtons; Justerini and Brooks; Potts Print (UK) Ltd; Sir Robert McAlpine; Sodexo; The W A Handley Trust; Ward Hadaway Solicitors.
Fittingly, the event followed on the back of National Carers Week 2016, which ran from June 6 to 12, and aims to raise awareness of the UK’s six million unpaid carers, as well as celebrating the incredible contribution they make.