• Accessibility Options

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Logo


A Royal Award for Local Volunteers

Volunteers from the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association were presented the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services at a special ceremony held in the Old Courthouse, Antrim on Monday 26 September. 

The group received their award from the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell for their efforts to preserve Rams Island, the largest Island in Lough Neagh.

Created in 2002 to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, The Queen’s Award recognises the outstanding work done in local communities and the   dedication of local people to local causes. It is the highest civic award given to local volunteer groups across the UK and is considered to be the MBE for volunteer groups.

 The award holds extra significance on this occasion as it will be amongst the last of the certificates signed by ‘Elizabeth R’.

Welcoming guests to the event, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross said;

“I recognise the excellent work being carried out by the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association.  The group have been in existence for 60 years and over the past 17 years, they have been restoring Rams Island through their heritage project.

“I extend my warmest congratulations to the Chairperson, Committee and Volunteers of the Association for the contribution that they have made, and continue to make, to the conservation and preservation of Rams Island”.

Receiving the award on behalf of the group, Chairman Drew Nelson said;

“We are honoured and extremely proud to receive this award, and it is a tribute to each and every one of our volunteers who give so tirelessly of their time. 

“We have been building on the vision our late member Michael Savage had for the Island.  ‘To build a haven for wildlife, build a jetty and a pathway, increase biodiversity, restore a derelict barge and encourage wildlife and birds to return to the Island.’ I am extremely proud of the Committee and all our volunteers in seeing this vision come to life”.

The Association have also created the opportunity for the public to visit the island and stay overnight on their campsite or by glamping in the island cabin.  If you would like to book a stay, or find out more about the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association, please visit riverbannloughneagh.org