Tracy receives royal approval with Platinum Champion status

Just a day after the announcement of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Charlie House founder Tracy Johnstone was named as a national Platinum Champion.

By John A. MacInnes
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 9:38 am
Tracy Johnstone awarded Platinum Champion status - Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia
Tracy Johnstone awarded Platinum Champion status - Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia

Organised by the Royal Voluntary Service, the Platinum Champions Award recognises volunteers from all corners of Britain and from a range of causes.

And they have the Royal seal of approval, through the Royal Voluntary Service President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. BBC’s The One Show and Morning Live are also showcasing some of the stories.

Tracy said: “I am absolutely blown away by the news, especially following our Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“It is incredibly humbling and not something I ever thought about when I set out trying to make a difference for children like my son in our community.

“We have come so far in the 11 years since Charlie House was formed and its success is down to the enthusiasm and good will of the people of the North-east getting behind our dream and supporting us.

“It is so wonderful that all this recognition has come in Volunteers Week, held to thank volunteers and give recognition not only to them but to the huge difference they make to people and their communities.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my family, the Charlie House team and the amazing generosity of the public and businesses in the North-east.”

A total of 490 volunteers across the UK have been selected as Platinum Champions and receive a specially designed, official Platinum Champions pin and a signed certificate from the Duchess of Cornwall.

“In honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service, we want to celebrate the outstanding contribution of volunteers,” said Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

“We want to thank and recognise all of those truly special people that are making a real difference to our communities with their kindness and generosity.”

In 2008, Tracy and her husband Craig were expecting twins to join older son Ellis, Tracy went into labour prematurely and the twins were delivered at 24 weeks. The family unfortunately only had a day with their daughter Eva, before she passed away.

Louis battled on through many operations and spent the majority of his first year in hospital. Tracy found it an extremely stressful juggling family and hospital life, trying to have quality time with Ellis and making sure Louis was cared for too.

As Louis developed, it became apparent that he would have severe disabilities and multiple complex medical needs, requiring 24/7 care and potentially would not live to adulthood.

The family tried everywhere locally to get support but there was none.

Tracy and Craig couldn’t understand why there was no support facility in the North-east and set out to make a difference by starting their own charity.

Charlie House was born, with the aim of making sure all children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in the North-east receive the support required.

In 2018, the charity launched the Big Build Appeal.