University of Bath Head of Community Engagement, Joshua Hale, was a guest at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 25 May, in recognition of his public service during the pandemic.

The Queen traditionally hosts three Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace in the summer, as a means of recognising and rewarding public service.

Hale was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his service to the local community during the pandemic, in the Queen’s New Year Honour’s list in 2019, when he was working as Students’ Union Student Volunteer Coordinator.

He worked around the clock to support more than 2,000 volunteers who signed up to volunteer with 3SG, Bath & North East Somerset Third Sector Group, in response to Covid-19. The organisation supports local community groups, charities and social enterprises in and around Bath.

He led the 3SG Befriending scheme and worked with partnership organisations to create and distribute physical wellbeing packs to adults across B&NES without internet access. He also developed 3SG’s social media and website content.

“The Garden Party was an amazing experience,” said Josh Hale. “I was incredibly honoured to receive the British Empire Medal for my work with Bath 3SG and it felt very special to attend the Garden Party in the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace, with my Mum. Even more so in the run up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. I was lucky enough to talk to Princess Beatrice about my volunteering and to say hello to the Duchess of Cambridge.”

Anna Boneham, Student Volunteering and Societies Manager in the Students’ Union, said: “We are incredibly proud of Josh’s award and the effort he put in to supporting our local community during the pandemic. It has forged an ongoing relationship with 3SG and many of our students continue to volunteer to support their activities.”