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Coronation awards joy for volunteer, Colin Lyall

Date: 11 May 2023

Colin Lyall at the Royal Garden Party.

Colin Lyall has been recognised by Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort as part of the official Coronation celebrations in conjunction with Royal Voluntary Service.

As a volunteer with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), Colin has been recognised for their contribution and crowned a Coronation Champion. With the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, a passionate advocate of volunteering and President of Royal Voluntary Service, the Coronation Champions Awards were launched to recognise exceptional volunteers from across the country at this momentous point in history. Across the UK, 500 Champions dazzled the judging panel with the impact of their work, their inspirational stories and unwavering commitment to volunteering.

Colin has been an Aphasia Peer Befriender for SCFT since 2014.  Colin had a stroke in 2013 and developed aphasia. He became an aphasia peer befriender for the innovative B&H CNRT's scheme, with support from SCFT volunteer service to provide peer support to others with aphasia and their families. This led the way to Colin setting up his own charity called ‘Say Aphasia' and working tirelessly to increase the profile of aphasia and provide support to people with aphasia across the UK.  He has set up 17 peer support groups across the UK and seven of these are in Sussex.

All Coronation Champions, including Colin were invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party. They received a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by Their Majesties.

Commenting on becoming a Coronation Champion, Colin said: “It is an honour to receive a Volunteer Coronation Champion award.  I don't expect recognition for what I do.  My priority is to reach as many people with aphasia as possible and provide support and companionship to this socially isolated group. Aphasia robs you of your ability to communicate.  It can be a devastating and cruel, chronic condition.  My role is to provide hope."

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “Each of our Coronation Champions displayed a commitment and contribution that far exceeds any expectation and we're overjoyed to honour and thank them during this exciting point in history.”