Last night, The Queen paid tribute to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) by giving a reception at Windsor Castle to mark the organisation’s 100th anniversary.
The reception celebrated the achievements of voluntary action over the last century, highlighting the difference that the volunteers make to the millions of lives in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
Of course, Elizabeth II is patron of the organisation which represents a diverse community of over 14,000 member organisations of all sizes – a third of the voluntary sector workforce in England.
Louise Munro, 24, Helpforce Volunteer of the year, met The Queen and described the moment as the greatest in her life. “I don’t think I will ever feel like that again.”
Louise has a chronic condition but still volunteers at hospitals to take care of the elderly, and those on orthopaedics and stroke wards.
The Monarch remarked to her “It’s quite a gathering.”
Another special volunteer was Ron Knight, 88 (pictured below), who gives his time as an NHS volunteer; the former Marine sadly lost his wife, daughter and a grandson in the last ten years and claims that volunteering ‘saved him’. He hopes to still be working in this capacity in another 10 years!
The reception brought together people within the UK charity sector and volunteers of all ages who are involved in various social, economic and environmental causes, carrying out tasks from mentoring and befriending, to restoration or gardening, and even life-saving work such as mountain rescue or lifeboats.
Part of the event was held in the room where Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress is on display until next month.
Princess Anne, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined The Queen for part of the reception, mingling with the guests.
An important part of The Queen’s work, of course, is to support and encourage voluntary service. One of the ways in which Her Majesty does this is through involvement with over 600 patronages, which cover every area of the charity and voluntary sector.
Her Majesty has even endorsed awards to acknowledge this donation of free time, in The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the Commonwealth Points of Light Award.
The first recorded royal patronage was George II’s involvement with the Society of Antiquaries, an organisation concerned with architectural and art history, conservation and heraldry. Today, the society boats The Duke of Gloucester’s support.