IT WAS celebrations all round as a dedicated Oxford charity received Royal recognition for its invaluable work.

Oxford Food Bank has been presented with a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson, the monarch's representative in the county.

Dressed in his full ceremonial uniform, Mr Stevenson visited the organisation's Botley base to officially award the honour - described as the 'MBE for volunteers' - on Friday.

Joined by the High Sheriff Richard Venables and two deputy Lieutenants, Poul Christensen and Sir Charles Ponsonby, the party was welcomed by manager, Cathy Howard, and chair of trustees, Paul Medley.

Speaking at the event, Mr Stevenson said: "I am particularly delighted to be here today to present this award to the Oxford Food Bank.

"In my opinion you should have been honoured in this way some years ago in recognition of the work you have been doing.

"The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services is specifically for charities that are volunteer led.

"The Oxford Food Bank, with over 100 volunteers to collect and deliver such quantities of food every day, fits perfectly."

The food bank works to cut down the amount of food wasted by shops and wholesalers across the county.

Its volunteers collect tonnes of unsold fresh food and distribute it to 80 charities to help them create nutritious meals for a wide range of people.

It is one of a select few charities in the county to have received the award this year, joining the Hummingbird Cancer Centre in Bicester and the Didcot Railway Centre.

Nominations are made by members of the public and a local assessment panel decides which ones should be sent to a national award committee.

This then makes recommendations to Government before they are agreed by the Queen.

Long term volunteer Malcolm Hope, who accepted the award, said: I have never received an award before.

"I’d always harboured the dream of being presented with the FA cup but this is so much better as it represents everything the Oxford Food Bank has worked for since it began in 2009.

"I’m proud to be part of such a great team; The Oxford Food Bank is such a joyful enterprise and brings huge benefits to the community."