By Royal Appointment: Glenarm in Bloom

L-R Glenarm in Bloom founder Frances Wilson with volunteer Rosaleen Meban pictured outside Buckingham palace, where they were invited to a royal garden party in recognition of the community group's efforts. INLT-23-704-con
L-R Glenarm in Bloom founder Frances Wilson with volunteer Rosaleen Meban pictured outside Buckingham palace, where they were invited to a royal garden party in recognition of the community group's efforts. INLT-23-704-con

Local regeneration group Glenarm in Bloom is savouring the sweet smell of success after scooping a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The group, founded by Mrs Frances Wilson five years ago, aims to transform derelict areas of Glenarm into welcoming spaces which locals can enjoy.

Yesterday, the group received a letter notifying them that they would be presented with the award, which recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by community groups.

The award was created by Her Majesty the Queen in 2002 to mark her Golden Jubilee.

The letter to the group stated: “The work your group does for the community was very much admired by the independent assessment committee, chaired by Sir Martin Lewis CBE.

“The award of the QAVS 2016 represents a tremendous achievement for your organisation.

“We hope that everyone involved, and particularly your volunteers, feel immensely proud of the recognition that this award represents.”

Responding to the letter via its Facebook page, Glenarm in Bloom’s committee said the group was “thrilled and delighted” to receive the award.

“We are all very proud today,” they stated.

“We would like to thank all our sponsors: Larne Parks Department, Glenarm Village Committee, youth club and all the villagers for their donations and floral displays.

“This could not have been achieved without you all.

“Last but no means least, the trusty five whose main aim five years ago was to transform derelict areas around the village and encourage people to stop and enjoy the improvements produced.

“Shows what can be achieved by working together.”

Glenarm in Bloom volunteer Rosaleen Meban added that the group was “honoured” to receive the royal recognition.

“I am really proud for everyone in the group,” she continued.

“It has really made a big difference to the Larne side of the village.

“Before it was a complete eyesore but now it has been transformed.

“People are more keen to go for walks and admire all the flowers, to walk around the marina, and it’s nice for people getting off the boats.”

Rosaleen also revealed that the award is not the only brush with royalty which Glenarm in Bloom has enjoyed recently.

“Last week I accompanied Frances Wilson, who founded the group, to a royal garden party and we saw the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Eugenie,” Rosaleen explained.

“The invitation was in recognition of the group’s voluntary work and it was beautiful, an experience we will never forget.”