At the start of National Volunteers Week Island Commissioner Linda Stone who heads up Girlguiding Isle of Wight invited members, their families and supporters to a BBQ and Recognition event.

Guests of honour were High Sheriff Graham Biss BEM and his wife Susan and Girlguiding IW President Gioia Minghella-Giddens and her husband Richard.

In her Annual Report Linda stated the importance of the movement, being the largest female only organisation for girls and young women. On the Island there are well over 600 members and some 160 adult leaders and helpers. Those receiving Volunteer Awards had notched up 680 years volunteering with the Island having no paid staff.

However, before moving on to the County awards the tables were turned on Linda when the South West England Region Chief Commissioner- Racheal Tattum was smuggled into the proceedings with a surprise award of a Silver Oakleaf for Linda. It was a first time visit to the Island for Racheal in this capacity as she has only been in post for three months. .Proceedings were halted whilst Racheal read the citation for Linda stating that Linda had been a lifelong member of Girlguiding following joining as a Brownie. Years in Guides were followed by training to become a Young Leader, Advisor, District & Section Commissioner, and other roles before being appointed Island (County) Commissioner over four years ago.

There were a number of awards for 5,10 and 20 years service before Donna Sanders-Steel was recognised for 30 years service, as was Angela Wallace. Donna and Clare Williams have recently gained Canal Boating qualifications to enable Island girls to enjoy time on canal boats.

A Good Service Award was given to a previous Island Commissioner Janet Lovell who has totalled over 20 years service and undertaken a number of other roles in addition to that of Unit Leader.

Meanwhile County Secretary and PR & Communications Advisor Suzanne Whitewood MBE was honoured with her 50 years Award. She remembers joining as a Brownie aged 7and a half (the minimum age for joining then) which kick started her lifetime membership of Girlguiding. Suzanne was the first Queen’s Guide in Ventnor and the first female Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award achiever on the Island.

Musical entertainment was provided by The Crew, normally a seven piece ensemble, but slimmed down to four on this occasion, their rousing songs based on the sea added a nautical touch to the proceedings and with some children dressed as pirates everyone enjoyed the event.

Photos of event :