News & Events

Young Enterprise Volunteer Manager honoured in memoriam by Her Majesty The Queen

Debbie Bestwick: "fantastic recognition for inspirational and popular leader."

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Tom Bestwick meats Her Majesty The Queen on behalf of his mother, Debbie Bestwick (pictured right)


A much-loved Young Enterprise Senior Manager who received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service posthumously was honoured at a reception at St James’ Palace this week.

Tom Bestwick, son of former Volunteer Manager Debbie, who sadly passed away last year attended the reception on his mother’s behalf and met Her Majesty  on Wednesday 29th May.

Debbie was Head of Volunteering at Young Enterprise, having joined the charity in 2004 and serving initially as the Corporate Relations Manager in the East Midlands.

During her time with the organisation she had volunteered herself as a Business Adviser and Area Board Member, before managing the volunteer network for Young Enterprise, the largest enterprise education charity in the UK.

She passed away in November 2012 following a long battle with cancer.

Tom said: “The event was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to mix with other groups and organisations that do this kind of work.

“It struck a very personal chord – I was immensely proud to receive the award on my mother’s behalf. I felt a lot of pride for everyone there getting that recognition.

“My mother inspired me – I’m always led by what she said and did. I did Young Enterprise myself in the early 2000s and became involved in volunteer sports coaching whilst at university.”

The Queen’s Volunteer Award is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. In order to be eligible, groups of two or more must provide a service and meet a need for people living in the local community. They must also be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it.

Young Enterprise depends on its network of over 5,000 volunteers working with over 225,000 young people to deliver its programmes in classrooms. The charity received the Award in December in recognition of its volunteer work.

Those who volunteer for the charity are from a range of sectors and could be self-employed entrepreneurs, business employees, stay-at-home parents or retired.

Young Enterprise CEO Michael Mercieca said: “I must pay tribute to the generosity of our 3,500 company sponsors and our network of 5,000 dedicated volunteers who help young people acquire the employability skills they need to succeed at work.

“The work we do in tackling the tragedy of youth unemployment and the results we achieve in giving young people the life skills and confidence to succeed would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers going into schools to mentor students, and we are truly grateful to them.

“Debbie Bestwick was an inspirational and popular member of staff, and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”