Coldharbour Mill receives The King’s Award for Voluntary Service

Coldharbour Mill receives The King’s Award for Voluntary Service

Volunteers at Coldharbour Mill have just been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Coldharbour Mill, is one of the oldest working woollen mills in the UK having been in constant production since 1797. Originally owned by world-renowned textile producers Fox Brothers, the Mill took fleece from all over the world and transformed it into yarn, cloth and textiles.

Largely unchanged since this time, today the rich heritage lives on as one of the best-preserved examples of a textile mill complex in the country. Now run as a charity, Coldharbour Mill welcomes visitors to experience not only industrial revolution, but also a unique opportunity to see artisan men and women making textiles, beautiful knitting yarn and hand-woven rugs on traditional looms.

Coldharbour Mill is one of 262 charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups from across the UK to receive the prestigious award this year since its inception in 2002. Their work, along with the other recipients, reminds us of all the ways fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

The King’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 Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.

Recipients are announced annually on 14th November, The King’s Birthday. Alongside Coldharbour Mill Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse and include volunteer groups from across the UK, such as a social support network for disabled adults in Banffshire; a charity using a refurbished pool as a community hub in south Wales; volunteer doctors providing pre-hospital care across rural Cumbria and a village renewal organisation promoting sustainability, equality and social inclusion in County Antrim.

6 representatives of Coldharbour Mill will receive the award crystal and certificate from David Fursdon HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, later this year.  In addition, two volunteers from Coldharbour Mill will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.


Bryher Mason, Chair of Trustees at Coldharbour Mill Trust says: “We are delighted that our dedicated and committed volunteers have been recognised in this way and is a real testament to their hard work and commitment to preserve and share our national treasure. We now have over 85 volunteers donating their time to Coldharbour Mill – supporting everything from running the steam boilers to gardening, hosting groups and schools and creating the national archive of woven patterns. Each one of these we are privileged to call friends.”