We have been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service!
Details of this award from the QAVS webpage:
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups and is awarded for life.
It is awarded to outstanding groups of volunteers whose level of initiative and impact are truly exceptional. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community. Volunteers are expected to be leading its work.
The official citation in the London Gazette is here: The Gazette.
The date of the award is 2nd June 2021 when the official announcement was made. We are one of 241 voluntary groups honoured this year.
In June 2020 we were approached by local Deputy Lieutenant David Pearson who said he'd like to nominate us for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
After the initial shock, we supplied him with details of the work of our Project and various other bits of information to answer the questions which he needed to complete the application form.
We were also asked to request letters of support from people whom we have worked with and supplied with the research we had carried out on their relatives.
We were stunned at the response, so many generous letters of support came back to us (see below), demonstrating how much people appreciated the work we have been doing and it was very humbling to read how much our work had touched these people. For them to support our nomination in such a manner was thanks enough for all the years of research and work to showcase the stories of local people who had served in wartime.
The support letters were forwarded to D.L. David Pearson to be added to the application form, to Ed Anderson, the Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire and some weeks later Deputy Lieutenant Robin Wright made contact with us to make his independent assessment of the application and the work that we do.
We left it at that until we attended a Zoom meeting on 4th April 2021 with Ed Anderson, Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. Forty-four groups had been put forward this year and this gathering was to congratulate us all on being nominated and to tell us more about the award and hear from past winners what difference it had made to them since their award was made.
On 19th April 2021 we received an email from The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Team, telling us that the work our group does for the community was very much admired by the independent National Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, and that we had been selected to receive the Queen's Award, would we like to accept it?
After a very short discussion (so that everyone knew and agreed) we sent our reply saying we would be honoured and thrilled to accept this award.
The award had to be kept secret until the official announcement is made, so we couldn't tell anyone until 2nd June 2021 when The Gazette publishes all new honours and awards. In the meantime we were sent a media pack and instructions for letting local news media know in advance from 17th May, with all details being strictly embargoed until 2nd June.
Here are some of the letters we received in support of the nomination for our Queen's Award. They are all published here with kind consent from each individual author.
Dear Sir or Madam,
The Men of Worth project has made an enormous contribution to local history in the Keighley area since its foundation in 2001. The group has uncovered stories of local men who served in the two world wars and is creating a valuable archive and set of records for future generations. Their work has led to names being added to local war memorials and enabled families to see their ancestors recognised. The group has organised numerous events and exhibitions, which have enabled the local population to find out more about the role of Keighley people in war time. During the First World War centenary period the group was particularly active, curating exhibitions on various battles. Ian and Andy have been incredibly generous with their time and assistance to me in my project on the Skipton First World War Prisoner-of-War Camp. They have helped me to find references and newspaper articles and spent time showing me the available resources in Keighley Local Studies Library.
The project has made, and continues to make, an extremely valuable contribution to local and national history.
Anne Buckley FHEA.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have no hesitation in praising the Men of Worth project for the hard work they carry out in their research of local men and women who fought in WWI and WWII.
I discovered what they did in 2010, when I read a piece in the local paper, Keighley News, that they were taking on the mammoth task of cataloguing local people in the armed services during both World Wars. Knowing that my father had researched a part of our family history in WWI, I added the details to the website myself and thought no more of it.
That was until three years later when the project put out a plea for any information families had on their relatives who fought in WWI for the upcoming centenary commemorations.
I contacted Andy Wade, who was very interested in seeing all the information my father had compiled, calling at my home to collect it and taking great care to copy everything for the projects’ files. From then on, we became firm friends, his knowledge becoming something I turned to whenever I was stuck on information for our family military history. The website Men of Worth has been an absolute mine of information thanks to Andy and Ian’s tireless work on it; nothing is too large or too small a task for them.
Andy will contact me out-of-the-blue with new newspaper cuttings or information he has found on my family in WWI, all of it much welcomed, because there is no-one I can ask about it. He never fails to surprise me in what he discovers.
Our family lost four out of five brothers(on my dad’s side) in WWI, and of course, that is in no way unique, except that the fifth brother only returned thanks to their sister asking the powers-that-be for him to come home, when the fourth had been killed in action. My father had researched all of their service history, but Andy managed to find more.
When an anniversary comes around, the project always remembers those lost on that date; my own family’s losses recognised at the Haworth Memorial. I am always told of this via social media with photos and videos. It is so lovely to know that these brave men are still remembered a century on.
Relative of The Bell Brothers.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Oakworth Community Trust, which is a charity operating in the village of Oakworth. Our main purpose, as an organisation, is to support the community that we live in, primarily, through the running of a local village hall. Through our work, we have had the privilege of working with many groups and individuals in the local area. This has included the local Village Society, Friends of Holden Park, Friends of Cure Hill, District and Parish Councils as well as a range of small, medium, and large, local businesses. Additionally, this includes the Men of Worth Group who we would like to support in their bid for the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Oakworth Community Trust formed in 2016 in response to budget cuts by Bradford Council, our principal local authority. Over a period of five years, volunteers have stepped in where the Council used to and were able to not only take over the hall but run it increasingly successfully. A large part of this success was the passion and love which the charity has received from the public. Key to all of this was the backing that was received from many established and well known individuals and groups in the village.
Throughout this time, the Men of Worth (and Andy Wade in particular) have fully backed the Trust and offered us much needed advice and help when required. They have volunteered for us, supported our events, promoted our cause and this all enabled our successful takeover of the hall. From there, the Men of Worth have proved to be even more valuable to us and the community than we ever could have envisaged.
During the last few years, The Trust has had the great honour of working on multiple events with the Men of Worth. One of these was a Heritage Weekend held in the Autumn of 2018. This event saw a range historical photos and archives brought to the village hall for the public to peruse. It was well received over the two days it was held and a café facilitated all the residents who attended. While there were many interesting things on display, one of the most popular parts of the weekend was the stand for the Men of Worth. The group brought a great deal of information about soldiers from the village who had risked their lives for our nation. The level of research and information was enormous, and those in attendance had nothing but compliments for them. One resident spoke afterwards and said, “I love these Men of Worth guys, they really bring history to life.” We, at the Trust, share this view.
After this event, we then have had the pleasure of working with the group multiple times. For quite a while, the Men of Worth have been compiling a long list of every soldier who came from Oakworth and died in the various wars. They, at great expense and tireless effort, were able to compile this information in a Roll of Honour which now sits, proudly, on the village hall’s wall. The unveiling was a great success, people from across the village were in attendance and all had nothing but love and respect for this work. People still speak about it on a regular basis and, pre-Covid, many have visited the hall to simply see the Roll of Honour.
The Men of Worth have helped bridge a gap between the present and the past and, most importantly, have enabled the honouring of our service people in a way unlike any other. The Oakworth Community Trust is deeply proud of our relationship with the MOW and will always jump at the chance to work alongside them. They bring our patriotic community together, providing a much-needed look back in time that is appreciated, valued, and respected by everyone in the local area. Beyond this, their work to honour our Commonwealth soldiers has been exemplary and their volunteering and support for other local groups in beyond comparison. In short, the Men of Worth are a credit to our local community and are invaluable in the very framework of the community that we both proudly serve.
Best wishes and regards,
Luke Maunsell. Secretary of the Oakworth Community Trust.
I wish to support the nomination of Men of Worth for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Ian Walkden and Andy Wade have worked on this project since 2001 and their work has educated and benefited the community across the Worth Valley. They have a passion to bring the names of the local people who died serving their country to life, so they are more than a name on a plaque or memorial. This involves painstaking research to find out about their life and family.
This started as a project to record all the local war graves, researching the men on the Oakworth War Memorial and then the men who weren’t mentioned on the memorial. It has expanded into a weekly column in the local newspaper, The Keighley News, featuring a different individual each week that they had researched.
In addition to the research Ian and Andy have wanted to get the stories out to the community and spend many weekends and evenings at galas, fetes, shows and community groups such as Haworth 1940’s and Keighley Show exhibiting their work and the lives they have learnt about.
At Remembrance events Ian and Andy provide the stories of the men on the memorials so a new generation can hear of the lives we are remembering. It makes it a much more poignant service for the local people.
One example of the work they have done is to evidence the war record and life of Private Herbert Moore who from their evidence has now been recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and has had a new headstone dedicated in Oakworth Cemetery. It was an honour to attend this service and to see how proud the community were of the work Ian and Andy had done to have Private Herbert Moore recognised.
Ian and Andy are completely dedicated to recognising those who have died fighting for their country and have painstakingly carried out this work for over 19 years. They are an inspiration and I fully support their nomination as the Worth Valley District Councillor on Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
Cllr Rebecca Poulsen.
To Whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter in support of The Men of Worth Project and their nomination for the Queens Award for Voluntary Services.
I have known Andy Wade and Ian Walkden for about 5 years when they first approached the Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council (of which I am Vice Chair) when they came to us looking for a grant to aid their research of the soldiers of WW1 within the Parish. The Parish Council chose to support their work and duly awarded the grant requested. Since then I have been very fortunate to stay in touch with these two incredible men.
In 2017 The Men of Worth Project approached me in my capacity of the Chair of the Friends of Cross Roads Park, asking me if we could find a place for a replica of the memorial from the Cross Roads Primitive Methodist Church that they had painstakingly restored from photos of the original, I cannot tell you how flattered we were that they had chosen to ask our group to find a home for this incredible piece of work, this memorial now hangs at the side of our memorial tablets which names the soldiers featured upon the replica.
I then also helped The Men of Worth Project in saving the memorial from the Order of the Oddfellows in Haworth, this has now been saved and restored and hangs in the boardroom of the Wyedean Weaving who do much work for the M.O.D and it seems a fitting place for this to be kept.
Lastly a good friend of mine called Mick Hey and I have done a lot of work researching the Soldiers of Lees, Cross Roads and Bocking, we have on number of occasions come to places where we were simply just stuck and required information, this was duly given by both Ian and Andy who were only too happy to share anything they had, this enabled us last year to visit every grave and memorial in Belgium and France of these incredibly brave men from our village.
Lastly I would just like to say how incredibly grateful that these two men have put in so much hard work to not only find out more about the men who gave so much for us, but the hours and hours of research they have put in to find out more about their lives and also their families. This is a legacy that can be passed on to generations in the future and without the dedication of these men that information would simply not be there, they also deserve a great deal of respect for managing to get so many service men recognised for their contribution but also on occasions managing to secure headstones for service men who otherwise may have been forgotten.
They are not only a credit to the Worth Valley but more importantly to this Nation.
I feel privileged to know them and have absolutely no hesitation in supporting their Nomination
Tito Arana. Chairman of The Friends of Cross Roads Park.
14th July 2020
To Whom it may Concern
I write in wholehearted support of the volunteer organisation ‘Men of Worth’ headed by Mr Andy Wade of Oakworth and Mr Ian Walkden of Keighley.
‘Men of Worth’ over a period of some 10 years, has very substantially raised the awareness of, and given dignity to, the very many men of the Worth Valley communities, who served in the military
forces, and gave their lives in the service of their country. The organisation has been active in the recognition and restoration of a number of War Memorials and other associated mementoes
connected with servicemen.
As a specific example: during my second term of office as Keighley Town Mayor (2014/15), the original standard of ‘The Association of Keighley Old Contemptibles’ was restored and paraded before myself and the Town Chaplain in Keighley Town Hall Square to commemorate the centenary of the commencement of the Great War in 1914. All the work of restoration of the standard, the research
into the servicemen concerned and the ‘Old Contemptibles’ Association’, plus the arrangement of the standard ceremony, was undertaken by Mr Wade and Mr Walkden, entirely as volunteers.
Further, ‘Men of Worth’ has been instrumental in researching the background and military history of a number of men who had no known marked resting place, with the result that War Graves Commission
headstones are now in place in Utley Cemetery Keighley and at Oakworth Cemetery.
In an act of great poignancy, ‘Men of Worth’ researched and then proclaimed, at the Keighley Town Hall Square Cenotaph, at the Remembrance Sunday memorial service, on each centenary date of the
conflict of the Great War, the names of the local men who had been killed in that year, 100 years previously. Similar name ceremonies were enacted at the War Memorials in the Worth Valley village
The historical and military research which Mr Wade and Mr Walkden have carried out, all entirely in a voluntary capacity, is quite phenomenal. It has greatly raised the knowledge and appreciation of former local servicemen within their home communities, and given these servicemen dignity and honour. I know that this has been a labour of love and dedication carried out by these two men and I
recommend their efforts as most worthy volunteers to your notice.
R. Graham Mitchell BA (Hons) Keighley Town Mayor 2006/07 and 2014/15.
9th July 2020.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have known of Keighley’s Men Of Worth Project ever since we moved to Oakworth in 2001, from Oakworth Village Society meetings and later when I was Chair of Oakworth Forward; Andy has always been an important part of both those committees, even taking over from me when we suffered a personal tragedy in 2011. He and Ian Walkden have worked wonders, tracing local ‘lost soldiers’ with painstaking research, and we have personally attended several Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) dedication services, including, three years ago to this day, Private Ivor Tempest Greenwood, who was still not eighteen years old when he died on 14 September 1914, right at the beginning of World War I.
Keighley Town Council has in the past supported funding for the Men Of Worth Project, as we should never forget the sacrifices made by many thousands of soldiers in two World Wars; we were lucky enough to visit Tyne Cot, Passchendaele and Ypres in 2017, which was very moving.
On behalf of my wife, a former Town Mayor of Keighley, and myself, we are delighted to lend our support to the proposed Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Men Of Worth Project.
Cllr. Martin Walker (KTC) and former Town Mayor Sally Walker.
8th July 2020
Dear Sir or Madam,
We would just like to say that Ian Walkden, Andy and Helen Wade and the Men of Worth Project in Keighley deserve support in what they have undertaken in Keighley and the surrounding area.
We came across the project on a visit to Keighley and the public library. There was a wonderful display on several large banners depicting soldiers who had died in The Great War of 1914/1918.
We were very interested as my Grandfather who came from Keighley was killed in France, in 1917.
There were some business cards from the Men of Worth at the display. We contacted Ian Walkden, whose name was on the card. We mentioned my Grandfather to Ian. He researched his name and found an obituary and a photo. Our family had no photo of him and did not know about the obituary. You can imagine how pleased we were to see the photo and put a face to our grandfather.
We have read the Keighley News online, The Men of Worth web site and the YouTube site with great interest. We have found out about others that have been helped by Ian in finding information
about relatives who have died in the First World War. There have been others that have been connected with relatives still living that they have never met. Ian has done this just to help people
find out about their relatives so they are remembered and not forgotten.
We were born and lived in Keighley. We travel back to see relatives. On three occasions we have attended Remembrance Day services at the cenotaph in Keighley. Ian Walkden has organised the
reading out of names of service men who died in the Great War. The names read each year have been to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of their death in that year. We were privileged
to be at the Remembrance Day Service in 2017. That year was the 100th anniversary of my Grandfather's death in France. Thanks to Ian, I was able to place a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf
of our Family. It was an honour to hear my Grandfather's name read out at the cenotaph.
Ian Walkden and the Men of Worth Project deserve recognition for the great work that they have done for the community. Any support that can be given to this voluntary organisation would be well
Jennifer and Kevin Bond.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada.