Town Team nominated for royal honour

Isobel Pickering, chair of the town team and Paces and Laces and Martin Carlin of Peppermint Cottage with the Leyland Now and Then calendar.
Isobel Pickering, chair of the town team and Paces and Laces and Martin Carlin of Peppermint Cottage with the Leyland Now and Then calendar.

Leyland’s Town Team could be set to get the royal seal of approval.

The local traders’ organisation is bidding to receive the highest award given to volunteer groups across the whole UK – The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award comes with a certificate signed by the Queen.

The team was nominated by South Ribble Council’s economic development department.

Martin Carlin, spokesman for the team, said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be nominated for such an award.”

He said he had received a later saying the team was through to the next stage - a due diligence test, with an announcement to be made next March.

“As I read it on the letter, it’s on level par as an MBE. I was astounded,” said Martin.

“We mustn’t let it put us off and carry on doing what we’re doing with future events.”

The team has helped to give Leyland a real boost in recent years by organising and supporting the likes of the Leyland Christmas Festival, including Christmas trees and lights for the town; the Leyland Festival; Leyland Then and Now calendars; and general fund raising such as organising a sponsored walk.

Martin said: “We’re thrilled and absolutely delighted. We can’t believe we’ve been nominated.”

The nominations received support from South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy and the Mayor of South Ribble, councillor Mick Titherington.

In her letter of support of the application, Mrs Kennedy wrote: “Their outstanding work of organising fundraising activities on a regular basis has been invaluable for the Leyland community and given that the group is made up of local businesses and community groups, you can appreciate, 
all their work and effort is done so out of their own time. I cannot see of a more deserving voluntary group to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.”

She told the Guardian this week: “‘It is brilliant to hear that the Leyland Town Team have been nominated for the Queen’s Award for voluntary service. They are such an integral part of the Leyland community and the work they have done with the Leyland Festival and the Light Up Leyland Christmas Campaign is highly commendable. I wish them all the luck with the nomination and in their new project for the Leyland Railway Station.”

The mayor said: “Through their enthusiasm and drive they have energised and engaged community involvement, strengthening the bond and affiliation people have with the place where they live. Since their inception the group has worked tirelessly and creatively in organising fundraising activities to raise money to fund community events. Many of the ventures they have been involved in have now become mainstays of the town’s calendar and are extremely popular.

“Perhaps the team’s highest accolade is the way they have, in a relatively short space of time, successfully cultivated a growing sense of civic pride and community spirit amongst the town’s residents, creating a pride in their place. This is a shining and uplifting example of where members of a community, working together, showing qualities of leadership and vision, acting with positive intent, can achieve in enriching the lives of their community.”

The Leyland Town Team was established in early 2013 and is made up from a group of local businesses and community groups who are passionate about engaging with local people, retailers, landlords, partners and community groups.