Blackpool's famous heritage trams get top honour from the Queen

The volunteers in Blackpool who look after the resort's world famous heritage trams has received the highest honour voluntary organisations can get.

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours, part of Blackpool Transport Services, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The presentation of the award was delayed this year due to coronavirus restriction, but former Blackpool MP Joan Humble, who is chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, presented the award on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire

The volunteers who operate Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours protect, conserve and operate the fleet of vintage tramcars on the tramway for which they were built.

Two of Blackpool's fine heritage trams

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    It is one of only two tramways in the world to operate double deck trams.

    The award team said the volunteers help widen public access to a rich part of the nation’s heritage and in doing so they are developing a wide variety of skills, creating a major contribution to the welfare of their local community and fulfilling the purposes of wellbeing, learning and education.

    The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.

    It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

    Blackpool Heritage Tram Volunteers with the award

    Head of Heritage, Bryan Lindop said: “Having worked with this remarkable and talented group of volunteers now for over five years, it fills me with great pride to see

    them achieve this pinnacle of national recognition.

    "It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, sheer grit and determination to maintain the high standard of excellence that they have become renowned for.

    "The volunteers, the community that they serve and indeed the nations heritage adoring public who come to Blackpool to benefit from the sheer feel good factor that the heritage tram tours create are inspiring new generations to cherish and appreciate their heritage; to participate in something culturally unique and life affirming, and by doing so, ensuring that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy this inspiring public amenity.

    Former Blackpool MP Joan Humble present the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service citation to Bryan Lindop from the volunteers

    “The unexpected delay created by the Covid Pandemic in enabling us to receive the actual trophy and certificate did nothing to dampen our spirits when the day finally dawned for Joan Humble on behalf of The Lord-Lieutenant to present them to us.

    "There was complete silence in the room as the certificate envelope was opened to reveal the handwritten signature of Her Majesty The Queen.

    "This incredible achievement attained by our hardworking volunteers is one of life’s unforgettable magic moments and it has been a great honour and privilege to work with them over the years.

    "Their brilliant efforts to enable Blackpool’s heritage tram fleet to continue to grace the promenade, raising smile after smile has now been justifiably recognised by the highest accolade in the land. I applaud each and every one of them for so selflessly giving their time and their talents for the enjoyment and wellbeing of all those who can continue to enjoy a tram trip down memory lane.”

    Bryan Lindop with the award letter

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    A close-up of the Queen's Award presented to the Blackpool Heritage Tram Volunteers