AYRSHIRE Cancer Support received the most prestigious and highest honour available to volunteer groups at a special presentation.

The local charity received The Queen’s Award For Voluntary Service on Tuesday, November 15 by the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, Iona McDonald.

The Queen’s Award is the equivalent of an MBE, and the honour was given to the group in the year the charity celebrates its 40th birthday.

Many civic dignitaries joined volunteers in the ACS drop-in centre in Kilmarnock to witness the Lord Lieutenant present the award.

She said: “I am here today to present Ayrshire Cancer Support with a QAVS. It is a QAVS because it was awarded during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

"From now on it will be known as the KAVS.

“This is a prestigious award. It is the equivalent of an MBE for charitable organisations.”

Highlighting the work carried out by ACS, which was founded in 1982, Iona McDonald added: ”Ayrshire Cancer Support provides emotional support and practical help to those who are affected by cancer.

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"You seek to improve the quality of life of those living with cancer and ensure that help is readily available with various services such as hospital transport and counselling.

“The service is for anyone living in Ayrshire diagnosed with cancer along with their loved ones such as family, friends and children.

“Ayrshire Cancer Support has over 240 volunteers. The main areas of help are at the drop-in centre, shop and hospital transport services.

“At the time of the nomination there had been 11,279 journeys made in the preceding 12 months by these drivers, which is staggering with the difficulties faced by the pandemic.

“Due to Covid restrictions drivers had to be limited to one patient per vehicle and these drivers wait on the patients during their appointment and return them home safely. This service is invaluable to patients and their loved ones offering peace of mind.”

The chief executive of Ayrshire Cancer Support Sandra McCall said it was a great honour for everyone connected with the charity and in particular the volunteers.

She added: ”It is only right that this accolade should be dedicated to our hundreds of volunteers - without whom none of what we do would be possible.

"This is a springboard for everything that comes next.”