Special service held for county’s voluntary organisations to celebrate Queen’s 90th birthday
Date Added: 18/05/2016
More than 500 volunteers attended a special church service to celebrate the role that volunteers and voluntary organisations play across Bedfordshire.
The service of thanksgiving and rededication for voluntary organisations in the county also honoured HM The Queen’s 90th birthday.
The congregation at St Paul’s Church in Bedford was brought together by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.
Joining representatives of county-wide voluntary organisations and armed forces personnel were a host of dignitaries including the Duchess of Bedford; the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Charles Whitbread; the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson; the Mayor of Luton, Cllr Dave Taylor and the Chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council, Cllr David Bowater. Town mayors from across Bedfordshire, the Deputy Chief Constable and the Chief Fire Officer were also present.
The theme of the service on Sunday, 8 May was ‘promise of youth’. The service included references to young people and their contribution to our society, HM The Queen’s Coronation, her well known 21st birthday speech, her life of dedicated service and her 90th birthday and acknowledged the very significant contribution made by all our voluntary organisations to the life of the county.
The service, held in the presence of the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans – who gave the address – and Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE, the Bishop of Bedford, was led by Revd Kevin Goss, Vicar of St Paul’s.
Musical items at the service were provided by the St Paul’s church choir; led by director of music and organist Ian Runnells, young people from the Fusion Choir in Bedford and the Chicksands/Henlow Military Wives Choir. The service also included two bible readings and ‘I Saw A Rainbow’, a poem for children.
The Lord-Lieutenant was supported by her cadets, Rachel Radley, Zaen Aziz, William Emberson, Kayte Hollis and Aaron Harvey.
Speaking after the service, Mrs Nellis said: “It is an amazingly powerful and inspirational experience to share a congregation with over 500 volunteers who are but a small proportion of the people who go out of their way to help their neighbours in our communities.
“Volunteers from all parts of Bedfordshire and from all cultural and faith backgrounds gathered to celebrate our county and to re-state their commitment to carry on their good work.
“I was particularly delighted to recognise the huge contribution that our young people are making to building us a strong society for the future. I applaud their courage and insight as they help us to see ahead with fresh eyes."