21 May 2022

Vintage car club collects award for voluntary service

The award is the highest given to volunteers in the UK.

Vintage car club collects award for voluntary service

The group host a show every year.

A vintage car club from County Derry has been honoured by receiving the highest award available to voluntary groups in the UK.

Garvagh Clydesdale and Vintage Car Club has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the work of its volunteers.

The club has been preserving history through vintage vehicles, farming methods and machinery, including Clydesdale horses, since 1995.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding, said the award highlighted the importance of volunteering.

“Volunteers are at the heart of community life in the Borough and I was delighted to learn that two local groups have received the Queen’s Award this year – the equivalent of an MBE,” he said.

“Celebrating the spirit of volunteering is very important, and the ongoing pandemic has shown us its value across the Borough.

“The Queen’s Award is the pinnacle of recognition for those who devote their time and energy freely to others.

“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to everyone associated with Garvagh Clydesdale & Vintage Vehicle Club.

“Their volunteers’ collective efforts have led to this success, and they should be rightly proud of this achievement.”

Club secretary, Michelle Knight-McQuillan, said its members were thrilled to receive the accolade.

“We never expected it, it’s not something we ever thought about because we just do what we do because we’re passionate about it,” she told the County Derry Post.

“We love what we do and what we get out of it ourselves and what we give back to other people, so we’re still in a bit of shock.

“For us to get it is quite unusual, but we do an unusual type of thing. We are one of very few in Ireland, certainly the only one in Northern Ireland, who combine horses and vehicles.

“We host a show every year in Garvagh that has a Clydesdale competition in it. We have steam engines, tractors, stationary engines, and vehicles from the early 1900s through to De Loreans.

“We try to keep the historical and cultural value of the rural past alive through our passion for vintage vehicles.”

Covid-19 has curtailed the celebrations in what is the club’s 25th year, but Michelle says the setback will not affect things too badly, as everyone is well used to their role.

“This is our 25th anniversary year, which is unfortunate because we would have loved a big celebration but with Covid-19, that has been curbed,” she said.

“We know what we get out of it, but we now realise how important it is to others. What we have been doing is of significant benefit to local people.

“It gives us the boost to keep doing what we are doing. We aren’t going to change anything because it’s working.

“Getting this award has given us that boost. We have a good way of working, everybody knows their jobs and it gets done. It’s a well-oiled vintage machine.”

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