A group that empowers people through singing and an independent lifeboat service keeping people safe along the coast and have been honoured with a royal award for outstanding voluntary service.

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Sing Your Heart Out, which has branches in Norwich, King’s Lynn and Attleborough, and Caister Lifeboat received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at The Great Hospital in Norwich yesterday from the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson.

For a voluntary group the award is the equivalent of being made an MBE.

At the ceremony Deputy Lieutenant Brenda Ferris said Sing Your Heart Out provides a welcoming, friendly environment where people with mental health issues can enjoy singing to improve their wellbeing, and the project was a testament to the value of music therapy for the mind body and soul.

Deputy lieutenant Robert Carter said the independent Caister Lifeboat has served its local community and visiting tourists since 1969 when the RNLI decided to close its station. He said the lifeboat’s work was absolutely vital and meant many lives had been saved, and that Caister Lifeboat was proud to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames.

Afterwards, Caister Lifeboat chairman Paul Garrod said: “We are all overwhelmed really. We are an independent lifeboat and we have received this award on behalf of everybody who has been involved in the lifeboat since 1969.”

Sing Your Heart Out chairman Penny Holden said: “Sing your Heart Out was started with just a few people singing in a room at Hellesdon Hospital, and now to receive this award is such an honour especially in the Diamond Jubilee year.”

• Is your community group receiving a special award? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

• emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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