Celebration Day for the Men’s Shed with King’s Award

By Jane Cruickshank / January 16, 2024

STONEHAVEN and District Men’s Shed received the Kings Award for Voluntary Service today – the highest accolade a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The members were joined by the Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte, representatives of the local authority and community groups and the family of past members for the presentation at the beachfront pavilion.

Before presenting the award on behalf of King Charles III, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Alastair Macphie, noted the success of the Australian-born Men’s Shed movement in allowing men to have fun and share skills and knowledge, while also helping deal with mental health challenges.

Mr Macphie said the Stonehaven Men’s Shed was a collection of like-minded people with a collective approach to projects, offering support to each other and the community – in a sustainable manner.

And he highlighted the unique work the Men’s Shed do for the charity Legs4Africa, which each year sees some 500 prosthetic limbs made suitable for re-use, rather than sent to landfill.

Other projects undertaken by the volunteers include work at the polytunnel at Mill O’Forest Primary School, teaching gardening skills to children with learning difficulties, building bench seating for the boardwalk, hosting the Folk Festival campsite and running the town’s monthly farmers’ market. And the volunteers have also collaborated with other groups such as the Fireballs Association and Horizon.

”This is the third time I have been here and every time I come, I am impressed with that you have all done,” said Mr Macphie.

He said His Majesty the King had spoken about the importance of creating a community at his coronation.

”That is exactly what you do,” he said. ”So on behalf of the King, I’d like to present this award.”

Award is equivalent to MBE

Chairman Bill Allan received the award, which is the equivalent to an MBE, on behalf of the volunteers. And he thanked the Shed’s original trustees, the local authority for its assistance, and supporting sponsors. 

He said: ”We also derive great pleasure in being part of a community whose groups work so well together for the benefit of the town and the surrounding area. 

”This award will inspire us to continue to contribute to the welfare of Stonehaven and its residents and we look forward to working with all local organisations in the future.”

Second award for one volunteer

Each of the Shed members was given their own copy of the engraved crystal trophy. And for one of the volunteers, Bill Emslie, it is the second he will now display in a special wooden stand – made at the Men’s Shed of course.

Mr Emslie is also a familiar face manning the exhibits in the Tolbooth Museum, where the volunteers were recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2019.

Cutting the cake

Meanwhile, two splendid ice-cream cakes, made by Aunty Betty’s owner Syliva McNab with her daughter Louise, celebrated the achievement and were much admired. A large blade was clearly needed to tackle them though, so to the entertainment of all present the Lord Lieutenant gallantly drew his ceremonial sword to assist.

Anne Gerrard (née Elder) - January 18, 2024

Well done! You can all be proud of yourselves !

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