News Boating

John Bunyan Boat volunteers honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service


The volunteers of the John Bunyan Community boat have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for volunteer groups.  They are among 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

The volunteers of the JB collectively contribute thousands of hours each year to crewing the 150 or more cruises, promoting the JB at wedding fairs and other events, and organising things behind the scenes to ensure a full programme of cruises throughout the season and the smooth running of the JB, so are thrilled to have been recognised with this award.

Graham Mabbutt, former Chair of the JB management group says: “I was delighted to hear we’ve been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is a great recognition of the hard work of our volunteers, who work to run a wonderful boat service for the people of Bedford and surrounding area. I would like to personally congratulate the volunteers for all their work over the past few years which has led to the success of the John Bunyan boat”.

The award will be presented to the JB’s volunteers by the Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, later this year, and then two representatives from the JB will be invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in summer 2023.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with the JB or join the crew then you can find all the details on the website or by contacting

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