Royal honour for judo club

A voluntary group working to raise awareness of inclusive judo has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Westerleigh Judokwai is a Battle-based family club with around 100 athletes, of which 35 percent have a disability, training over four sessions a week fifty weeks a year.

In July, three athletes and one of their coaches will represent Great Britain as part of the GB team at the Special Olympic World Games in America. This will be the fourth time members of Westerleigh have represented GB at the World Games.

Westerleigh’s directors, Paul and Paula Everest, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 28 where they met the Queen and other recipients of this year’s award.

“We as an organisation feel very honoured to receive such an award, it recognises all the time that has been given voluntarily by the committee, family and friends,” said Paula.

“To find out we were being awarded the Queen’s award in year of our 20th anniversary we feel is a amazing achievement.”

Westerleigh Judokwai is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

The number of awards handed out to groups has increased by more than 60 percent from 2014, due to an increase in high-quality applications.

Organisers say this shows the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

Westerleigh Judokwai will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex later this summer.

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