The Kirkgate Arts and Heritage Group in Cockermouth has snagged the highly esteemed King's Award for Voluntary Service.

The King's honour, equivalent to an MBE, has been bestowed for remarkable volunteer undertakings at the town's Kirkgate Centre, benefiting their proud community.

It is the highest award that can be given to volunteer groups across the UK.

To qualify for a nomination, a group must be made up of at least three people, be led by volunteers, have been running for at least three years, and be based in the UK, Channel Islands, or Isle of Man.

General Manager at Kirkgate, Emma Heys, said: “This is a great achievement. We are thrilled that our volunteers’ achievements have been recognised.”

Bearing similar sentiments, Rob Higgins, Chair of the Kirkgate’s Board of Trustees, said: “We are absolutely delighted, on behalf of our volunteers, to have received this award.

“We were selected from the Cumbrian nominees to go forward to the national stage, so to be included as one of the award winners across the country is a phenomenal achievement.

“The award is ‘for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers’ and we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all of our volunteers who play such a crucial role in the life of the Kirkgate.”

Local assessors had visited and scrutinised all nominated groups before writing a report about their suitability.

Subsequently, the candidates were submitted to the National Assessment Committee for further deliberation.

The committee considers the nominations and agrees a shortlist for approval by the King.

The national recipient list was released to coincide with the King’s 75th birthday.

Along with a signed certificate from the King and a domed glass crystal, up to two group representatives may be invited to a royal garden party.

In light of their victory, a celebratory event was held at the Kirkgate Centre on Tuesday, November 14.