Queens Award for Voluntary Service

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014 the Primrose Car Service Volunteers were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Queens Award For Voluntary Service is the highest award made for voluntary service and is recognition of the commitment of all the past and present volunteer drivers who have willingly given their skills and so many, many hours of their time to help other members of their community.

The Primrose Car Service was started in 2006 by The Bedford Hospitals Charity and provides free transport to Addenbrookes HospitaL, Cambridge, for those Oncology patients of the Primrose Cancer Care Unit at Bedford Hospital who require radiotherapy treatment. On five days of every week, a team of 25 volunteer drivers operates five Vauxhall Zafira vehicles to take patients to and from their homes to Addenbroookes Hospital, and this free service is believed to be unique in the UK.

The annual mileage of each vehicle is about 25,000 miles and each is replaced at between 70,000 to 80,000 miles. The service works with the generous cooperation and support of The East of England Ambulance Service, while the drivers’ schedules are efficiently coordinated by Delphi Ellis.

Hundreds of patients have expressed their gratitude for such support, and many relax in the atmosphere of camaraderie and banter during their journeys. One patient wrote that, “You made my stressful treatment more bearable. Everyone was so thoughtful and helpful. Thank you so much.”

Delphi and members of the team | Photo courtesy of Bedford Times & Citizen
Heather Pollard (left) and Andy Bambridge (right) receiving the award on behalf of the Primrose car service volunteers from Helen Nellis (centre), the Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire