Church’s top award for voluntary work

General Pastor Kim Joo-Cheol (third from right) at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party
General Pastor Kim Joo-Cheol (third from right) at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party

A church which does many good works in the borough is celebrating after receiving the country’s highest award for voluntary services in communities.

The World Mission Society Church of God (UK Zion) has been given the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Michael King and Kim Joo-Cheol from the World Mission Society Church of God attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 24, where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

The church’s volunteers, who are recognisable by their bright yellow T-shirts, have carried out work in Wigan and Leigh over the past few years including cleaning up the town centres, tidying Mesnes and Jubilee parks and providing activities for elderly residents at care homes in Norley Hall and Pemberton.

The group have also provided help and relief for flood victims in Greater Manchester, run drives to boost the number of people donating blood and removed graffiti.

Their efforts have now paid off by being given the highest honour a community group in the UK can receive, with the leaders being invited to a special garden party at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Award recipients.

Their work has previously been acknowledged locally with certificates from the Mayor of Wigan and commendations from the council.

Senior church leader Michael King said: “The award is a wonderful encouragement to all of our volunteers to spread our work even more in the future.”

The church is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups which will receive the prestigious Queen’s Award this year, a slight increase on the number given out previously.

The award committee chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis, said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups.

“The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”

UK Zion will officially receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester in a ceremony later this year. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate Her Majesty’s golden jubilee, with the winners announced each year on the anniversary of her coronation. This year’s winners range from a war memorial community trust in Wales to a club which develops athletics provision in Scotland.