The King’s signature will now appear on the 500 certificates awarded to winners of the Queen Consort’s Coronation Champion Awards, along with that of his wife.
In a royal first for their reign, the couple will co-sign the historic award that the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) awards to some of the country’s most incredible volunteers as part of the official Coronation celebrations, backed by the Daily Mail.
Winners will also receive a specially designed pin, based on the official Coronation emblem, and tickets to the Coronation Concert or garden party as part of their once-in-a-lifetime prize.
Charities and organizations, including the NHS, are asked to nominate their most dedicated volunteers aged 14 and over for a chance to win an award in eight categories as diverse as mental health, environment and culture.
The King’s signature will now appear on the 500 certificates awarded to winners of the Queen Consort’s Coronation Champion Awards, along with that of his wife. Pictured: King Charles signs a guest book with Camilla during a visit to Colchester Castle on March 7.
Sarah-Jane Umfreville was nominated for the landmark award for her admirable volunteer work
The initiative is designed to celebrate the many millions who are going the extra mile in their communities across the country in this historic year of celebration for the nation.
Winners will be selected by a team of experts after an intensive judging process.
Author and national treasure Jilly Cooper CBE told the Mail of the awards: ‘Thank God for our wonderful legions of volunteers who make so much possible. Leading her is our wonderful queen consort, who puts her heart, soul and her glorious sense of humor into everything.”
Pop star Sam Ryder, Official Ambassador for the Coronation Champions Award, added: “I love that there is an award category celebrating volunteers supporting culture and heritage at this year’s Coronation Champions Awards. How much they do throughout the music industry should be widely celebrated. There are volunteers at charities who support people through music and help to uplift and connect, which are really special.
‘It would be amazing to see some of the volunteers supporting others through music being named Coronation Champions, so please nominate!’
Author and national treasure Jilly Cooper CBE (pictured at the Oldie of the Year Awards at Simpson’s In The Strand, London in 2019) said: “Thank God for our wonderful legions of volunteers who make so much possible.”
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, stressed to the Mail the “great contribution” made by volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.
She said: ‘With over 300 different types of volunteer roles supporting the NHS, volunteers offer an extra layer of support to patients and communities that complements the work of our staff.
“Celebrating 75 years of the NHS, the Coronation Champions Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the dedication and compassion of volunteers across the country who make a world of difference every day.”
CASE STUDY: SARAH-JANE UMFREVILLE
The Ukraine crisis prompted Sarah-Jane Umfreville, a working mother with two children, to open the doors of her home to a refugee family.
Within months, she found herself building a support group in her local community of Minehead, Somerset, responsible for over 50 people.
After a busy day working as a financial services case verifier and raising her two young children, Ms. Umfreville, 31, sits down to complete visa and grant applications, handle emergency housing applications, book flights, Pick up at the airport and run a Community Meal for guests and hosts.
Sadly, she has even had to organize counseling for families grieving their loved ones who have died fighting the Russian invasion at home.
She explained: ‘I decided to sponsor two ladies from the Ukraine and it started spinning from there. I created a group on Facebook, started helping with visas, sponsors, emergency housing, organizing monthly social events. I’ve volunteered for local community projects before, but nothing like this. She says her husband often jokes ‘put down that phone!’ but he knows how much he has come to mean to her helping other families in need.
‘I can’t believe they nominated me. I cried when they told me. It feels amazing and I am so surprised because I feel like there are so many more people supporting larger groups of people and doing more than I am,” she says.
Liubov Baranova is a Ukrainian woman for whom Sarah-Jane is a volunteer
“I just wanted to make sure these families are okay and have the support they need. They’re all my friends now, so I don’t even feel like I’m going out of my way.
“But it’s wonderful that Their Majesties are using the Coronation to thank other people.”
She was nominated by Lynne Wooldridge, via the Daily Mail, who says Ms Umfreville always goes ‘beyond and above’ to help, including cooking an amazing Christmas lunch for over 90 people and organizing second-hand bike repairs for help their Ukrainian visitors commute to school and work.
‘Sarah-Jane leads by example. She never stops caring and is available whenever you need her, despite having a full-time job and young children,” she said.