Image demonstrating Two Hexham charities receive Queen’s Award

Two Hexham charities receive Queen’s Award

The worthy recipients are Tynedale Agricultural Society,  organisers of the annual county show, and Wag & Company North East Friendship Dogs, which work to reduce loneliness in elderly dog lovers.

Created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Wag & Company North East Friendship Dogs is a charitable group of volunteers with friendly dogs that visit the elderly in their own homes, or in care or medical establishments.

The group has been operating for three years and has over 400 volunteers who visit lonely dog lovers right across the north east of England. To date they have carried out almost 54,000 visits, befriending over 2200 people.

Some of the elderly people the charity visits are  profoundly lonely and isolated and miss the company of their friends and former pets. When the volunteers visit they get the benefit of both a four-legged and a two-legged friend and the regular visits have proven to significantly lift their  spirits, encouraging them to walk, talk, laugh and reminisce about their own animals.

Founding Director of Wag & Company, Diane Morton, said:

 “We are absolutely delighted that the special contribution of our amazing volunteers has been honoured in this way. Every day they are all working hard to make the lives of elderly dog lovers brighter across our communities and even in these challenging times, their commitment to developing creative ways to keep in touch and to lifting spirits is really inspirational.”

The second Queen’s Award recipient is the Tynedale Agricultural Society. It has over 250 volunteers who set up and run the annual county show and encourage an interest and knowledge in farming. 

The show attracts over 29,000 visitors and is run by volunteers of all ages who help as individuals, as well as from groups such as Churches Together, Air Cadets and the Young Farmers. 

In addition to the annual show, volunteers are funded by TAS to go into schools to teach children more about the food they eat and where it originates. The society also hosts several exhibitions throughout the year to demonstrate rural crafts such as spinning and weaving, hedge laying, bee keeping, sheep shearing and dry stone walling.

Each year TAS funds six bursaries for students wishing to study agriculture. Other profits go to Tynedale Hospice, the North East Air Ambulance and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. 

Harry Mole, former President of Tynedale Agricultural Society said:
“The county show could not function without the valuable input, enthusiasm and dedication of all our volunteers who work so hard to help promote agricultural and rural life in Northumberland. 

“The show has a long history and there is a great sense of pride within our volunteers for what we have achieved together over the years. This amazing accolade pays tribute to the exceptional hard work and commitment of all our volunteers, both past and present.” 

Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland,  Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland will be presenting the charities with the awards later this year.
“These two charities have made incredibly valuable contributions to the people of Northumberland and beyond.  The Queen’s Award gives national recognition of extraordinary acts of voluntary service  and is only  given out in exceptional  circumstances.  These commendations are so very well deserved. As Patron of Wag & Company I am especially pleased to see them gain the recognition they so rightfully warrant. ” her Grace said.

Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, culture, arts and tourism said:
“These volunteers have made a significant difference to the lives of others. Their hard work and dedication is truly commendable and they are an inspiration to us all.” 

Photo:  Sheila Moody with her Friendship dog  Eddie and his owner,  volunteer Diane Snowsill. 

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