A bereavement support charity from North Hertfordshire has received The King's Award for Voluntary Service.

It was announced on Tuesday, November 14 - the King's official birthday - that Stand-by-me Bereavement Support, which is based on Hitchin, would be receiving the award.

The Award is the highest that can be received by local voluntary groups in the UK, is granted for life and is equivalent to an MBE.

Stand-by-me was created to support bereaved children, young people and their families in North Herts and Stevenage, and relies on a dedicated band of volunteers to do its work.

Their groupwork programme is run over seven weeks and provides a safe place for bereaved people to come together to learn ways to manage their grief.

One attendee, Hugo, said that after attending the group he "was able to talk about the death of my dad with other people and could get back to living a bit more”.

Stand-by-me Bereavement Support will receive the crystal award and certificate from Robert Voss CBE CStJ, the Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and the monarch's representative in the county.

In addition, two Stand-by-me volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Carol Read, chairperson of Stand-by-me, said: "Being awarded The Kings Award for Voluntary Service is a great honour for Stand-by-me Bereavement Support and well deserved by our volunteers.


"The volunteers are the mainstay of our organisation and without them we would not be able to function.

"They approach their training with rigour and put into practise all they have learnt when working with the young people and families in the groups.

"They devote a great deal of their time to Stand-by-me and their work is commendable. Stand-by-me Bereavement Support are very lucky to have such a skilled and committed group of people."

Stand-by-me is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the King's Award for Voluntary Service this year.

The Award aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities, and was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.

It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.