UK tram and light rail news hasn’t exactly been filled with good news stories over the past few months as we continue to report on more COVID-19 service changes and museum closures but just occasionally a pleasing news story comes through, and here is one such article! Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours have become one of only 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
This award aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities and was set up in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. They are announced on 2nd June each year – the anniversary of the Coronation – and this year’s recipients not only include Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours but a community shop in Cornwall, an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a community arts centre in County Down.
The award will be presented to representative of Heritage Tram Tours later this summer and two volunteers will also have the opportunity to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021.
Bryan Lindop, Head of Heritage at Blackpool Transport, was understandably delighted: “Having worked with this remarkable and talented group of volunteers now for over 5 years, it fills me with great pride to see them achieve this pinnacle of national recognition. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, sheer grit and determination to maintain the high standard of excellence that they have become renowned for. The volunteers, the community that they serve and indeed the nation’s heritage adoring public who come to Blackpool to benefit from the sheer feel-good factor that the heritage tram tours create are inspiring new generations to cherish and appreciate their heritage; to participate in something culturally unique and life-affirming, and by doing so, ensuring that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy this inspiring public amenity.”
The award is a recognition of the hard work which has gone in to establishing Heritage Tram Tours as a major tourist attraction in its own right in Blackpool, giving wider public access to the trams which are now part of the heritage of not only Blackpool but also the UK as a whole. Whilst pause have been hit on things for now they will come back stronger than ever with the knowledge that their hard efforts over the past few years have been nationally recognised!