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Royal honour for 'landlocked' Sea Scouts

PUBLISHED: 20:11 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:31 12 July 2010

A Sea Scout group miles from the coast that has built a new HQ from a rat-infested former canteen has earned an honour from the Queen.

Outstanding community work by Dickleburgh Sea Scouts has been recognised at the highest level with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services, one of only seven given to volunteer groups in East Anglia.

A Sea Scout group miles from the coast that has built a new HQ from a rat-infested former canteen has earned an honour from the Queen.

Outstanding community work by Dickleburgh Sea Scouts has been recognised at the highest level with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services, one of only seven given to volunteer groups in East Anglia.

The honour, equivalent to being made an MBE, sets the benchmark for excellence in volunteering, and the

activities of those rewarded have been judged to be of the highest standard.

The East Anglian recipients were chosen from 379 groups nominated by people who had been helped personally or seen the benefits of their community work. And Paul Playford, of Dickleburgh Sea Scouts, was thrilled to receive the royal accolade.

He said: “We were nominated by Dickleburgh and Rushall Parish Council, who thought we were worth the accolade. I think the main reason is the new building, which is quite special as it's almost built on the lines of a ship, and the activities we put on.

“A lot of people laugh about what are Sea Scouts doing in Dickleburgh, but we take them on to Weybread Lakes, the River Waveney and the River Yare. We are not like a school or a sports association but we do a lot of work with kids who do enjoy getting on the water.”

The group has about 75 members whose ages range from six to 18. Set up in the 1980s, it encourages youngsters to get involved with outdoor activities and has gone from strength to strength since taking over a rat-infested former school canteen in the village and creating a modern building in its place.

Other regional winners included King's Lynn Samaritans; Brightlingsea and West Mersea Community First Responder Groups; Centre 33, from Cambridge, which provides a drop-in centre for homeless and socially-deprived people; Bedford music group Fusion, which works with young people; Nicky's Way at St Nicholas Hospice in west Suffolk, which offers a bereavement service to children and young people; and The Harpenden Trust, in Hertfordshire, which supports the local community.

Each will receive a crystal trophy marking their success at ceremonies being given by lord-lieutenants.

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