Festival Medical Services, a charity founded in Somerset, has today been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The charity’s doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, together with support staff, volunteer at music festivals, including Glastonbury, and other high- profile outdoor events. They offer a full on-site emergency medical service for fans, plus other healthcare services such as dentistry, podiatry, physiotherapy and mental healthcare.
Last year, they celebrated 40 years of service at Glastonbury and festival founder Michael Eavis toured their medical centre on-site to congratulate them on their achievements – they particularly pride themselves on how few patients nowadays ever have to be transferred to hospital for treatment.
The group also raises money for medical charities – both in the UK and abroad – and each year donates up to £100,000 to other good causes.
Festival Medical Services (FMS) is one of a number of charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a community arts centre in County Down.
Representatives of Festival Medical Services will receive the award from Annie Maw, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from FMS will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Dr Chris Howes, Managing Director and founder of Festival Medical Services, from Croscombe, near Wells, in Somerset, says:
“The organisation we have grown into is scarcely recognisable as that which received its first patient in a kitchen at Worthy Farm in 1979.
“Our volunteers now come from all over the country and provide a hugely comprehensive range of high-quality medical services.
“They show relentless commitment and dedication and devote their skills, energy and experience to ensure the service we provide is second to none. If these top professionals were not willing to volunteer their time and expertise, then the service we provide would be unaffordable.
“FMS aspires to the highest possible standards of clinical care and professionalism. Added to that we are a family, and we look after each other – especially when the elements may be challenging, and we are coping with rain and mud, or extreme heat, as well.
“I am delighted on behalf of these dedicated colleagues that their work has been recognised – although it’s sadly ironic that this award should come when few, if any, events will be taking place this summer because of coronavirus.”