Anne Kings, a well-known and popular volunteer from Gillingham, has been among those recognised for their outstanding volunteer work by King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
Five hundred outstanding volunteers across the UK were given a Coronation Champion Award.
Nominees were judged on their impact on the lives of others, their dedication to volunteering and on how much they inspire those around them.
All 500 Coronation Champions received a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a signed certificate from King Charles and Queen Camilla.
The certificate was presented to Anne by Gillingham Councillor Sharon Cullingford, who was then town mayor, at Gillingham’s Coronation Concert, together with a Mayor’s Appreciation Certificate.
Anne also had the great honour of attending the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert with her guest Jackie Adams from Top Brass and Wind Concert Band. Anne and Jackie joined King Charles and Queen Camilla and other award winners to watch a world-class orchestra play interpretations of musical favourites fronted by some of the world’s biggest entertainers.
Anne said: ‘When I first received the official-looking email to say I had been chosen to receive the King Charles III award, I really thought it might be a scam or something, but this was followed up immediately by a special delivery letter which confirmed it to be true. I only knew a week or so before the Coronation, and I was forbidden to tell anyone until the following week.’
She continued: ‘Receiving the Award from Councillor Sharon Cullingford at our own “Coronation Concert” was a wonderful surprise; however the icing on the cake for me was when she presented me with yet a second award, her ‘Gillingham Certificate of Appreciation’. As I said on that evening, and I will repeat it again, everything I have done I have done for Gillingham, so both these very special awards belong to this community.
‘In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined being invited to attend the Coronation Concert in Windsor Castle, but the experience was something that Jackie and I will never forget.’
Anne added: ‘The Concerts which we put on every year to raise funds, have always been successful due to the many hours of hard work put in by Jackie and her Top Brass & Wind Concert Band, so she was the obvious person for me to take with me as my plus one.’
Anne is a well-known community volunteer in Gillingham and gives up a significant allocation of her own time for the improvement and wellbeing of residents. She has been a long-standing and committed member of the Gillingham Medical Practice patients participation group, and an active and energetic Health Champion who supports the practice and represents patients.
Anne has also worked tirelessly for the Dementia Friends Group spending hours educating committees, clubs, groups and local businesses alongside her committee colleagues. She leads many fundraising events, raising funds for excellent causes including a local music event working with Jackie Adams from Top Brass and Wind Concert Band and soloist Arabella Heaton putting on superb concerts locally and raising thousands for the Dementia Friendly Group and Mindful Cafés who support people with dementia and memory loss.
And inspired by the Red Cross 1918 Pearl appeal, she made jewellery necklaces and bracelets which were sold in aid of the British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Anne often attends St Mary the Virgin Primary School where she reads to the children and during the pandemic lockdown Anne wrote a Children’s Book called Button Cottage Lock Down, which was a sellout, even getting noticed by TV stations and earning Anne an interview and small cameo roles on Martin Kemp’s TV programme. The proceeds from the book were donated to Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.
Councillor Cullingford, who nominated Anne for the award, said: ‘I’m so pleased that Anne has been awarded a Coronation Champion. This is a well-deserved recognition of Anne’s outstanding contribution to our community.’