It was announced back in June in the London Gazette that Watchet Live CIC, the Community Interest Company behind Watchet Live Festival, was one of the recipients of the 2017 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award that can be given to volunteer groups across the UK.
One of just two organisations in Somerset to be named as recipients in 2017, their citation states they are receiving this this prestigious award as “Volunteers organising numerous events year on year for the benefit of their community and to help boost tourism.”
Data from last year alone suggests that the various regular annual activities organised by Watchet CIC (including Watchet Live Music Festival, the infamous Wheelbarrow Race and Summer Carnival) generate approximately £1m of income into the West Somerset town.
As part of their award, Watchet CIC received a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal. These were presented by Mrs Annie Maw, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Somerset on the evening of Wednesday 27th September at The Sanctuary in Watchet where Jodie Prescott, this year’s Carnival Queen and her attendant Sophie Hooper accepted the award and the certificate on behalf of the CIC.
Also in attendance on the evening was Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff, Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset; Peter Murphy, Mayor and Chairman of Watchet Town Council; Directors from the Onion Collective, who initially nominated Watchet LIVE for the award, and David Milton, Watchet Town Crier who opened the proceedings in his own special way!!
Mark Bale Chairman of Watchet LIVE thanked them all and stated that without all their continuing help and support over the years, the music festival and all the other events wouldn’t have turned into the successes that they are today. Back in the summer Directors Mark and Jackie Bale (as representatives of the seven Watchet CIC directors) attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen and Prince Phillip, who were both in attendance.
Mark Bale says, “Many people are amazed to learn that Watchet LIVE CIC stage and manage all Watchet Live events on a volunteer basis, and this award is accepted on behalf of each and every one person who has given their unpaid time for the benefit of our local community. The aim was always to make our hometown in the rural West Country a vibrant, exciting place to visit and live, and to bring a true festival experience to West Somerset. To receive this prestigious award is validation of all this hard work to date, and also provides inspiration to keep going in the future!”