A VOLUNTARY group from Blyth has been rewarded for 26 years of voluntary service with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Blyth Youth Rugby is among 112 organisations around the country to get the honour, which is classed as being the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary service.
At a presentation event at Alnwick Castle on Wednesday night, representatives from the club received a certificate signed by the Queen, and an exclusive commemorative crystal.
The club received the award for promoting participation in sporting activities for school children.
Blyth Youth Rugby chairman Max Proud accepted the award on behalf of the club from the Duchess of Northumberland.
On presenting the award the Duchess said “It is a huge honour for me to present the Queens Award to Blyth Youth Rugby who are a perfect example of great voluntary work, which is a huge benefit to the community.”
In reply Mr Proud said "It is a great privilege to be recognised for all the hard work that the volunteers have put in over the years and my thanks go to everyone connected with the club, as without them we would not be here tonight," he said.
"We hope that this work continues for many more years and that we can build upon our reputation. We would also like to thank the Duchess for her fantastic hospitality and for making us so welcome this evening.”
A citation read by Vice Lord Lieutenant, Captain Ian Moffat, said: “Blyth Youth Rugby is an outstanding example of an entirely volunteer group working with and for young people. The group has operated very successfully for many years and is exceptional in the quality of what it does for young people.
"Affiliated to the Rugby Football Union, the group is a very effective and admirable organisation which operates on strict compliance with the high standard demanded by that body. The enormous contribution which the group makes to youth provision is widely recognised and the positive relationship developed with local schools, is singularly impressive.
"Led by a first-class team, and through hard work and dedication, the group’s volunteers have developed excellent relationships across the community and have earned both respect and appreciation.
"To conclude Blyth Youth Rugby is an exceptional and inspirational example of a successful, dynamic and entirely volunteer –led group dedicated to enhancing the live of young people through active participation in sport.”
Melanie Magee, Newcastle Falcons Community Foundation manager, who was also in attendance at the reception, said “It is very pleasing to see Blyth being rewarded for their hard work over the years and for the fantastic Youth section that they have developed. The Foundation very much enjoy working with the volunteers and players to enable them to achieve their aims and ambitions and we look forward to building upon the relationship we have formed.”