The ‘tireless’ dedication of the volunteers who look after Shoreham Fort has been recognised by the High Sheriff, who paid the group a surprise visit on Sunday.
Caroline Nicholls presented the Friends of Shoreham Fort with the High Sheriff’s Award in recognition of their services to the community.
She said: “I had no hesitation in selecting the Friends of Shoreham Fort as a very, very worthy recipient of this award.”
A video from the event shows the emotional moment the team was presented with the award.
Andy Vincent, a trustee of the Friends of Shoreham Fort, said: “This was such an unexpected surprise and really goes to show how hard all of the team work - from those that spend hours digging in the rain, to those who spend hours doing boring paperwork, it really is an honour for all of us to receive this award.”
Mrs Nicholls was joined at the fort by Tim Loughton MP, councillor Joss Loader, the chairman of Adur District Council, county councillor Debbie Kennard, heritage crime officers PCSO Daryl Holter and PC Michael Harvey, and Robert Pooley of Pooley Sword Ltd.
Mr Loughton said: “The Friends of Shoreham Fort have really brought the place to life – from the activities they hold here such as the Military History Weekend and the great plans they have going forward to make the fort a major historic and tourist attraction.”
Ms Loader described the volunteers as ‘the original unsung heroes’.
She said: “They do the most amazing, fantastic job here at the Fort on Shoreham Beach.
"I cannot praise them highly enough – they’re hard working, they’re committed, they’re passionate, there is not many of them and they give up their free time tirelessly to restore this amazing scheduled monument."
Gary Baines, founder and chairman of the Friends of Shoreham Fort, said the award was a credit to the team, adding: “We are such a small group but together we achieve great things.”
The Friends of Shoreham Fort formed in 2009 and became a registered charity in June 2012 with the aim of conserving, maintaining and restoring the fort.
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