The Veterans Garden Dumfries has been awarded a King’s Award for Voluntary Service. Equivalent to an MBE, it is the highest honour given to local voluntary groups in the UK.
The garden sits on the Crichton estate and supports veterans and their families – teaching outdoor skills, and offering friendship and mental health advice. Dumfries and Galloway has the third highest number of former military personnel in Scotland and this is a one-stop-shop to access emotional and practical help, a place where like-minded people can talk, garden, and learn new skills.
Mark Harper, spokesman for Veterans Garden Dumfries, said: “We are honoured and thrilled to receive this award. It will raise our profile and allow us to support more ex-service personnel and their families throughout the region.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, as it was then, was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Since that time, it has been shining a light on the fantastic work of voluntary groups across the UK. Previous winners in Dumfries and Galloway include The Food Train, D&G Befriending Project, D&G LGBTQ Plus, the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team, and D&G Bloodbikes.
The award will be presented by the King’s representative in the area. The Lord-Lieutenant for Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong, said: “The Veterans Garden Dumfries offers a unique service and has won other awards for its work. To be royally recognised in this way is a real tribute to the efforts the group makes in helping those who have served our country.”
Archie Dryburgh MBE, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “The Veterans Garden Dumfries is always the first place I go for parades, welfare issues, educational visits from schools and community groups and Remembrance events. Its team of dedicated volunteers continue to support the region’s efforts to make this a good place to live for ex-forces personnel and their families.”