A 600-strong group of volunteers who have made possible County Durham festivals like BRASS, Lumiere and the Bishop Auckland Food Festival have received the county’s highest honour.

Big events such as these would not be able to run without the help of volunteers, who perform vital tasks such as handing out flyers, dealing with queries from the public, and generally being the ‘face’ of the festivals.

And some of these events can be on a massive scale. Last year’s Lumiere saw 240,000 people attending the festival over a period of four nights.

Representatives from the 600-strong group – known as Festival Makers – recently visited County Hall to be presented with the Chairman’s Medal by the vice chairman of Durham County Council Cllr John Lethbridge.

The Chairman’s Medal – the highest honour the council can award to individuals or organisations – is given out for outstanding voluntary contributions that have improved life in County Durham.

Festival Makers - pic 2
Cllr Lethbridge presents the Chairman’s Medal to Julie Lavery as Festival Makers look on 

Cllr Lethbridge said, “This is our most prestigious civic honour and I’m delighted to award it to our Festival Makers who dedicate their time to ensuring our schedule of events run smoothly for the thousands of people who attend.”

“They help us to bring people together to enjoy themselves and feel the sense of community which makes Durham such a special place.”

Durham County Council’s volunteer and skills manager, Julie Lavery, said, “Becoming a Festival Maker is not only a rewarding way of giving something back to your community, it also allows you backstage access to some of the biggest events in our county, enhances your CV and can boost confidence and self-esteem.”

“We’re extremely grateful to all our volunteers who donate their time to ensure our events are that little bit more special, making visitors welcome and ensuring they want to come back to County Durham year after year.”

For more information about volunteering opportunities with Durham County Council, please visit www.durham.gov.uk and search for the volunteering portal.  

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