Volunteers at Burnham’s BARB Search & Rescue were formally presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2014, a prestigious national honour, during a ceremony on the seafront at the weekend.

The charity received a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative crystal award presented by Somerset’s Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Gass DVCO, on Saturday.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was first launched in 2002 by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee to recognise the outstanding contributions made by groups of volunteers to local communities.

BARB received the award in recognition of its flood relief work across Somerset over the past two winters and operating its two life-saving rescue hovercrafts and inshore rescue boat, which are run by a dedicated team of over 20 volunteers.

Lady Gass chatted with crewmembers during her visit and was formally welcomed to the town by Burnham’s Mayor, Cllr Martin Cox.

She said: “I congratulate all concerned at BARB for this well deserved award following the group’s marvellous work in Somerset.”

BARB Operations Manager Mike Lowe said: “It is a great honour to receive this award. BARB’s team of volunteers work exceptionally hard through sometimes very difficult and challenging environments and are prepared to do so at a moment’s notice. This recognition for our charity is fantastic and we are exceptionally proud.”

The award is given ‘for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service’.

BARB’s inshore rescue boat volunteers helping in last winter’s flood relief efforts

The crew helping villagers in Muchelney – one of several areas affected by floods

Official BARB Search & Rescue Web site