THE Isle of Wight punches well above its weight when it comes to volunteering.
That was the message from Isle of Wight Lord Lieutenant Maj Gen Martin White as he presented the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to the Friends of Shanklin Theatre (FOST) on Wednesday.
Maj Gen White said he sat on the national body that administered the Queen's Award and he had seen how well the Island compared to other areas.
He presented the award to Peter Coleman, chairman of FOST, who told a packed auditorium at the celebration evening it was a great moment for the hundreds of volunteers who had made Shanklin Theatre such a success story.
Many of the volunteers were present at the evening, as well as invited guests, including Maj Gen White and his wife, Fiona, Deputy Lieutenant Patricia Partridge, who looks for suitable award candidates on the Island, and Cllr Susan Scoccia, chairman of the Isle of Wight Council.
Also invited was David Thornton, new chief executive of Visit Isle of Wight, who praised the standard of the entertainment showcased on the evening and said it had 'given him ideas.’
The entertainment came from a number of groups associated with the theatre.
Shanklin Town Brass Band got the ball rolling and were followed by members of the Savoyards, who sang a selection of Gilbert and Sullivan numbers.
The First Act theatre group, which encourages people with learning difficulties, performed a Grease
medley and the Spotlight theatre group sang a selection from summer shows they had put on at Shanklin.
There was the first ever live version of John Hannam Meets
to round off the entertainment, with John interviewing 1960s singing star Craig Douglas and Island actress Amy Bird on the stage.