Eight volunteer groups from across the north-east have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
It is the volunteering equivalent of the MBE and the highest award given to volunteer groups in the UK.
Among this year’s winners are The Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Pool, Fochabers Heritage and the Aberdeen FC Community Trust.
The awards will be handed out by the Queen at a garden party at Holyrood Palace on July 4.
A voluntary group from Banchory operating in the community for over 20 years to provide a free-of-charge audio newspaper to Deeside residents has also been honoured.
The Banchory and district talking newspaper, The Sound of the Piper, is recorded weekly and distributed to listeners with no charge.
Moray Handy Person Services, Morayvia, Step by Step Moray, Cummings Park Community Flat Volunteers and the Disabled Persons Housing Service Aberdeen were also honoured.
Recognising the exceptional service the groups give to their communities, a record 250 volunteer-led groups will receive the prestigious award this year in the UK.
The recipients of the award are announced each year on June 2 – the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “The record number of recipients this year is testament to the strength of the voluntary sector and I am sure this trend will continue into the future.”
Friends of Stonehaven Pool chairman Pete Hill said the award was “humbling” and added: “It is an honour for every single volunteer who has given time, expertise and skills as well as blood, sweat and tears to ensure that our pool is maintained to the highest standard, is promoted effectively and provides swimmers, sunbathers and spectators with the best possible summer lido experience.
“It is also an award for friends who are no longer with us – sadly too numerous to mention individually.”
Moray MP Douglas Ross has congratulated the four Moray charities awarded and said: “These individual awards are a fitting recognition to the countless hours that volunteers have put into these organisations making them such important and integral parts of Moray life.
“What is even more special is that an area the size of Moray should have four recipients this year, the highest number to come to Moray in a single year.
“It is quite something that an area the size of Moray can have more Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winners than Glasgow and Edinburgh combined.
“That really tells you all you need to know about Moray and the people who live here.”