Volunteers at Liverpool Heartbeat began the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend with something very special to celebrate as they receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Liverpool Heartbeat is one of our city’s best loved charities. For the past 20 years it has been run by founder Robin Baynes MBE, supported by his wife Brenda and their family and a dedicated team of volunteers who over many years have organised a wide range of events and projects to promote and inspire healthy lifestyles for young people in our region, as well as assisting other charities and organisations with their events.The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers. It is the highest award given to volunteer groups in the UK.
When asked what winning the award meant to him and the Liverpool Heartbeat volunteers, Robin Baynes said: “It means everything. It means the fulfilment of 20 years’ work. It is wonderful for the volunteers to be recognised for their commitment.”
Robin founded the charity in memory of his lifelong friend, Kenny O’Toole, a fellow Liverpool School Swimming Champion. In 2002, Liverpool Heartbeat’s first fundraising event in memory of Kenny took place. This was a sponsored relay swim from Scotland to Ireland that was undertaken by his swimming friends - and Liverpool Heartbeat was born.
And now Robin wants to honour the memory of another friend, Rob Harrison, who sadly died of covid in 2020. Robin first met Rob when he became a resident with New Start Social Housing Organisation, which was founded by Robin and his family to support people with little or no choice of accommodation.
Rob remained a resident at New Start for almost 20 years and became one of Liverpool Heartbeat’s most dedicated and passionate volunteers, always going above and beyond to support the charity’s fundraising activities.
Robin said: “Rob had been with me from day one and he was such a big part of Liverpool Heartbeat. He would have been so excited about this award and would have been organising the party for everyone!”
Liverpool Heartbeat’s team of volunteers includes Liam Hanlon, who, with four fellow Tri-4-Life team members, recently reached the summit of Mount Everest. Liam and the Tri-4-Life team and the volunteers at Liverpool Heartbeat have all supported each other’s projects since 2002.
Other volunteers who have brought their unique talents to Liverpool Heartbeat include: Nicola Broadley, a singer and actress who is the principal of Ovation Performers, and Sam Jalloh. Sam was born in Sierra Leone and is now living in Southport. He is an international tennis coach and a well-respected physical, nutritional, mental health coach and motivational speaker.
Phil Davies is a first-class film and video technician who always helps the charity with the filming of their projects. Liz McGovern, a talented development manager, manages projects for the charity. Another who is a friend and volunteer of Liverpool Heartbeat is Tim Quinn, who worked for Marvel Comics in the States for 20 years and was Marvel’s Head of Special Projects. Tim has been working hard on some exciting creative projects for Liverpool Heartbeat.
The above are joined by June Ritson (Liverpool Heartbeat’s Treasurer for 20 years), Chris Entwistle (video game creator), Peter Thompson (Liverpool Heartbeat Website Designer & Manager) and Ossie Omar (Events Co-ordinator).
Natalie Reeves Billing, who is a well-loved children’s author and also a big supporter of the charity, said: “Robin and his team are currently creating a musical extravaganza celebrating the life of an unsung local hero, John Hulley, who was arguably the founder of the modern Olympics.
With interactive apps, more comic books and a video game in the offing, we will definitely be seeing more of Liverpool Heartbeat and its impact across the city.”
Echoing this sentiment, Robin said: “I would like to say a big well done to all our volunteers and also to our trustees. I am absolutely delighted for you. All. Here’s to another 20 years!”Website: https://www.liverpoolheartbeat.co.uk/