Cowper & Newton Museum Volunteers win Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

We are honoured to announce that on Tuesday 2nd June Cowper & Newton Museum Volunteers received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Coming just 5 weeks after the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Museum in April 1900, we are delighted that the hard work and commitment shown by our many volunteers, and appreciated by our visitors, has been recognised by this prestigious award.


Our thanks to Councillor Keith McLean who nominated our volunteers for the award

“I was very pleased to assist with the nomination of the Cowper and Newton Museum as it is a wonderful organisation that brings together so many people who volunteer in many guises to run and enhance the museum, The work that has been undertaken in the last five years has been fantastic, with not only the growth in the number of artefacts on display but also the work to enhance the fabric of the buildings. An amazing amount of work delivered by an amazing army of volunteers!”


And also to Mark Lancaster and Martin Thacker who supported the nomination

‘The Cowper & Newton Museum has become a charming and appealing showcase of all matters relating to both historical figures.  The Museum successfully tells the story of each person in a sensitive way.  All ages are catered for.  I am particularly impressed by the way staff have considered young visitors.

This change is as a result of the committee, staff and volunteers of the Museum.  There is a warm welcome for everyone who visits and a genuine desire to tell the stories of Cowper and Newton.  This is because there is tangible pride in the Museum and its place in Olney.  The venue is physically in the heart of the town but also in the hearts of its volunteers.

I also attended an event that was organised to demonstrate appreciation for the volunteers.  I was amazed by the number of volunteers that now support the Museum and their enthusiasm for the place.  There were numerous examples of how they have used their skills and knowledge to contribute in various ways e.g. painting, decorating, repairs, as well as acting as Museum guides or being part of the Georgian Dance group performing for visitors.

The camaraderie amongst the volunteers, staff and committee is evident.  They are clearly motivated to ensure the Museum serves the memory of two inspirational people but also the town and beyond.

The volunteers make a significant difference and have ensured that the Museum is a vibrant place.  I wholeheartedly recommend them for a Queen’s Award in recognition of all they do.’

Martin Thacker of Fetternear

Baron of Fetternear

* Also one time Lord of the Manor of Olney


The Queen’s Award is a welcome Dose of Positivity

With life being currently challenging for so many independent Museums, this award is a much welcome dose of positivity.  Behind the scenes we are continuing to safeguard our historic buildings and collections so we are ready to welcome old friends and new back to the Museum in what we hope is the very near future – and of course have the opportunity for all our volunteers to get together and celebrate …


You can find out more about this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at


To find out about volunteering at the Cowper & Newton Museum here