Burnley park volunteers presented with top award for 16 years of dedication and effort

Maureen Frankland and her partner Andrew Johnson at Buckingham Palace in recognition of the Friends of Towneley Park receiving the Queen's Volunteer Award.
Maureen Frankland and her partner Andrew Johnson at Buckingham Palace in recognition of the Friends of Towneley Park receiving the Queen's Volunteer Award.
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A group that devotes itself to improving one of Burnley's most popular parks has received the highest award given to volunteer groups.

The Friends of Towneley Park has received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

The magnificent Towneley Hall and its stunning grounds for which the Friends' group has won the highest accolade for volunteer organisations.

The magnificent Towneley Hall and its stunning grounds for which the Friends' group has won the highest accolade for volunteer organisations.

Created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation, the award is regarded as the MBE for volunteer groups.

Chairman Maureen Frankland said: "This is a fantastic achievement for the group and for all the members who always work so hard to make Towneley park the place that it is."

Maureen and her partner, Andrew Johnson, who is also involved with the group, were invited to the Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace after news of the award was broken to the Friends and the group will be officially presented with the award at a future date.

The Friends' group was among 281 organisations across the UK to receive the award and it is believed to be one of only six in Lancashire to win it.

It was nominated for the award by Simon Goff who is Head of Greenspaces at Burnley Council.

Launched in 2003, members of the Friends of Towneley Park have overseen a number of projects to improve the park including the installation of play equipment at the Todmorden Road entrance thanks to Lottery funding and also fitness equipment close to the site of the former high school.

Members are also responsible for the woodland trails throughout the grounds filled with sculptures and art and craft work. The group holds regular events at Christmas and Easter and throughout the year.

With a band of around 30 volunteers, including two of the original members, Pat Colbran and Ronnie Pollard, volunteers can be found regularly gardening and weeding at various locations in the park.

Just recently the group, which is a registered charity, sold all the plants taken from the Italian gardens to save them from being composted and their efforts raised £300 which will be ploughed back into group funds.

This weekend,weather permitting, a Brass in the Park event will be held, organised by the Friends' group.

Maureen said: "The group is not exclusive and we would welcome anyone who would like to come along and join us."

To find out more about the Friends of Towneley Park group please visit their website www.fotp.btck.co.uk.