Thursday 20 June 2019 was an evening of celebration when the Ulster New Zealand Trust (UNZT) received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from Her Majesty’s representative, Mrs Joan Christie, CVO OBE, Lord Lieutenant for Co Antrim.
To start the celebration, the Dilworth School students from Auckland performed a very lively Haka to our guests and volunteers. After a drinks reception, Mrs Christie, LCCC Mayor Cllr Alan Givan and VIPs were piped into the Ceremony.
The programme included conversations with volunteers Mrs Hilary Bracefield and Mr David Twigg about their time as volunteers. The Crystal award and Citation were presented to Miss Betty Wilson, long-serving volunteer and Ballance relative, and to Mr Freddie Hall. Mrs Margaret Lee, former NZ Consul, spoke on behalf of Sir Jerry Mataparae, NZ High Commissioner in the UK, who had sent a very kind congratulatory message. Mrs Helen McClenaghan also gave a most entertaining account of her time as a volunteer.
A multi-media presentation then focussed on the work and achievements of the volunteers over the past 30 years and the restoration of the Ballance House in the late 1980s. The evening concluded with a meal and Mrs Pat Elliott, a long serving volunteer, cut a cake to celebrate the past 30 years and the future of UNZT. Each volunteer was given a QAVS scroll and pin badge to remember this achievement.