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Princess Anne and Family

Princess Anne bestows a royal honour on Vital Heritage Group

Photo copyright: Charlie Proctor / Royal Central

The Princess Royal is continuing a busy schedule of engagements throughout the summer. On Thursday, 22 July, Her Royal Highness was in Sunderland to present an award to Sunderland Maritime Heritage. 

Princess Anne presented Sunderland Maritime Heritage with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Christopher Carolan, Chairman of Sunderland Maritime Heritage, accepted the award on behalf of the organisation in front of many of the group’s volunteers and trustees. This award is the highest possible award given to a voluntary group in the UK and is given to groups whose volunteer services benefit their local community. Sunderland Maritime Heritage was nominated by Friend Frank Nicholson. The award was established in 2002 for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. 

The charity celebrated its 20th anniversary in December of 2020, and like many other heritage organisations during the global health crisis, it has suffered from lockdowns and a lack of fundraising and promotion. Volunteers for Sunderland Maritime Heritage have restored the Dunkirk Little Ship Willdora, which was one of approximately 850 boats that sailed across the Channel to rescue allied soldiers trapped on several beaches of Dunkirk during WWII. The group also has a museum and information centre where visitors can learn more about Sunderland’s maritime history throughout the centuries. 

As reported in the Sunderland Echo, Carolan said, “this award would not have been possible without the dedication of our volunteers and their commitment to preserving the history of ship building in Sunderland in so many ways, and I thank them most heartily for this.

While in the North East, The Princess Royal visited North East Ambulance Service staff in Hebburn and presented several with the Queen’s Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct. The Royal Family has had a busy month of engagements, with several senior members touring different areas of the UK to meet with communities and organisations. 

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