THE Regal in Tenbury has collected its Queen’s award for voluntary service.

It is often spoken of as the MBE for voluntary groups.

A similar award is also held by the Bluestone Centre at Bleathwood.

The award that recognises the hard work of a dedicated team of more than 100 volunteers is the highest accolade that can be made to a voluntary group.

It recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities and was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

The Regal plays an important role in the community and is a creative hub for local people, presenting a mixed programme of live shows, cinema, workshops and broadcasts from the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Volunteers are the heart of the Regal and carry out roles covering box office, front of house, film projection, lighting and sound technicians, backstage support, chaperoning, sweets and merchandise sales and ushers. Without them, the Regal would not be able to offer such a diverse programme.

The Regal is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

“This is an outstanding achievement, which reflects the hard work, commitment and passion of everyone who volunteers at the Regal. Every volunteer plays an important part in the Regal’s success and makes such a valuable contribution to our community,” said Stephen Snead, chair of the Trust.

Two volunteers from The Regal attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The Regal was built in the 1930’s and has had a colourful history over the past 80 years.

At one time it was in a sorry state but nearly a decade ago it was awarded £600,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund in recognition of its place as one of the few remaining examples of small town cinemas that were built between the first and second world wars.

The building is owned by Tenbury Town Council but run by an independent trust on a long lease from the council.