CELEBRATING the work of volunteers was the message from the mayor of Marlow at the town's annual civic service on Sunday.

The work of people giving up their free time has never been more notable in Marlow than in recent weeks as residents battled against the worst floods in a generation.

Volunteers helped out emergency services around the clock to help flood stricken residents, and mayor Suzanne Brown paid tribute to their efforts at yesterday's civic ceremony.

Dignitaries gathered at the All Saints Church Hall in The Causeway before making the short journey to the church itself for the service.

During the ceremony Cllr Brown said: "Nearly every single person in this room is a volunteer - some of you for one organisation, others for many. It's a wonderful job you do. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have the town we have at the moment.

"The town has been absolutely amazing during this awful time of flooding. Talk about contrasts - I started the year with the town regatta and Swan Upping and he had absolutely amazingly beautiful weather. Then all of a sudden in December it rained and it kept raining, but we've seen the town come together with the amount of volunteers we were inundated with.

"Officers stayed in the office late and worked weekends without having to be asked.

"I want to say a huge thank you to everyone."

Cllr Brown paid particular thanks to the numerous shops in Marlow that provided free hot food to the emergency services and volunteers - and to Asda and Grant and Stone, who both provided 2,000 sandbags to try and alleviate the flooding.

She also encouraged the 100 or so people in attendance during the church service to get more youngsters to volunteers in Marlow.

She said: "We need more young people to get involved with joining, whether it's Rotary or Round Table."

The civic ceremony was attended by Buckinghamshire's Lord Lieutenant Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the Leader and Chairman of Wycombe District Council, Richard Scott and Ian McEnnis, the mayors of High Wycombe and Beaconsfield and the deputy mayor of Amersham.