A Wycombe-based conservation group is celebrating after winning a prestigious award from the Queen, as its volunteers reflect on a successful year of service.

Addressing the High Wycombe Town Committee on June 13, founder of Chiltern Rangers, John Shaw, said his team are “proud and honoured” to win the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017.

The community interest company (CIC) is one of seven organisations across Buckinghamshire to scoop the accolade which is the highest given to volunteer groups to recognise outstanding work carried out in their communities.

Mr Shaw said: “We are one of four organisations in Wycombe to win an award, and by far the smallest and youngest so that is really testament to all the different people who have been getting involved in our organisation and getting out there and making things happen.”

Over the past 12 months the Chiltern Rangers have completed almost 10,000 hours of volunteering and has worked to support people with mental health issues and learning difficulties by providing them with volunteering opportunities.

The group has recently launched a new volunteering scheme funded by the National Lottery and Shanly Foundation which is funding more volunteering opportunities for those in need across the area. The team is also celebrating the success of its Young Roots project which has gathered volunteers of all ages to create a seven point trail along the River Wye thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Thames Valley Housing, Red Kite Housing and High Wycombe BIDCo.

Chiltern Rangers has almost doubled the amount of young volunteers they hoped to attract to the project, welcoming 965 young as well as 445 adults and 63 under 11s.

Mr Shaw added: “We are proud to be becoming a big part of the High Wycombe community our efforts are paying off because we are helping lots of other organisations to achieve the things they are trying to do be that from Scouts to schools and that is something we have been really proud that we are able to do.

“That has led us to really driving our volunteering through the roof frankly. We have managed to deliver nearly just a fraction to the 10,000 hours of volunteering to the sites we look after in Wycombe, not just for Wycombe District Council but around the district, slightly further and beyond over the last 12 months.”

South Central Ambulance Service and Bucks Fire and Rescue were also praised by Mr Shaw for helping with the Young Roots Project.

Mr Shaw added: “We always hear such bad, negative things about our communities, particularly young people, about how they don’t make a difference. It’s not true and I will not have it said because given the opportunities they can really make a difference.”