A CUMNOCK teenager has been crowned Youth Volunteer of the Year after progressing through local and regional heats.
Laura Murray, 17, is part of the Cumnock Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) team which helps out at major public events.
With Dumfries House on their doorstep, the ex-Cumnock Academy pupil and her colleagues are regulars at royal occasions and never fail to get excited.
Laura, who works in the restaurant at Lochside House Hotel, was naturally delighted to win the award which earns her two titles — West of Scotland and Scottish Volunteer of the Year.
She said: “It was great to win the group award which put me through to the regionals, but amazing to win the Scottish title.
“There have been many highlights since I joined the group but the best was being on duty at the closing ceremony at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
“We were beside the Australian team and had a great view of Kylie Minogue. That was a different experience.
“Among the many great occasions at Dumfries House, my favourite was when the Queen opened the Walled Garden. Camilla spoke to one of our group, but every time Charles visits he acknowledges us like we are his pals.
“All these events give you a bit of a buzz and volunteering also teaches you how to conduct yourself.”
Among the many attributes which earned Laura her honour is her attendance record.
She has only missed one week out of 178 since she joined PSYV when it was created in 2013.
Constable Tom Northorpe, who is in charge of the Cumnock group, said: “Laura only missed that one week because she had a school trip to Iceland. We have a very active programme and normally on duty several times a month. Just last week, we were at the Troon 10k which was a big event. In fact, in the last 54 days we have been on duty at 47 events, which is the equivalent of almost 500 hours, or 20 days.
“It has been brilliant working with the young people. I have been doing it since the group started and it doesn’t get any less exciting.”
As well as being an award-winner, Laura is currently the longest serving youth volunteer in Scotland since she received her induction certificate from Prince Charles.
A PSYV spokesman said: “This award was sponsored by the Scottish Police Credit Union Limited and recognises a dedicated young volunteer who has shown commitment to PSYV and contributed energy, skill and time.
“She encourages a spirit of adventure and good citizenship.
“Laura shows enthusiasm in both a learning and volunteering environment and is seen as a developing leader of the future.”