An Ayrshire cancer charity has been given the royal seal of approval for its incredible contribution to the community.

Ayrshire Cancer Support has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Equivalent to an MBE, the award is the highest honour for volunteer groups in the UK and is awarded for life.

Chief Executive Officer at Ayrshire Cancer Support, Sandra McCall, said: “It is such an honour and on behalf of all of us we thank Her Majesty or this truly wonderful recognition in what is such a special year for her.

“It is only right that this accolade should be dedicated to our hundreds of volunteers - without whom none of what we do would be possible.

“This is a crowning moment in our history so far and we are so very grateful.

“It will act as a springboard for everything that comes next.”

For the last 40 years, the charity has been providing emotional and practical help for local people affected by cancer.

Working between its support centres and hospitals, its 20 staff and 240 volunteers offer a variety of free therapeutic services, support groups and counselling to those in need, as well as tailored services to children and young people.

One of its key and founding roles is providing a hospital transport service staffed by volunteers drivers who collect patients from home, take them for treatment and return them back again.

It is hoped the royal endorsement will boost the charity’s fundraising efforts to raise £600,000 towards a new £1.8million dedicated cancer support centre in Ayr, and to encourage others to support them in any way possible.

The charity also said it is a time to reflect on all those who have been with them right through their cancer journeys – from those who are still in regular contact to those who are no longer with us.

Director of services at Ayrshire Cancer Support, Louise Graham, said the award was a “deserved recognition” for the work that colleagues, volunteers and supporters put in across the charity.

She commented: “They make us proud every day and hopefully this unexpected thrill from the Queen allows them to experience a moment of pride in what they do, in honour and memory of everyone who has been connected with our charity over the last 40 years.”

As well as receiving the award, the charity will be presented with a domed glass crystal to mark the achievement and two volunteers will be invited to attend a garden party at Holyrood house in July 2023.

To support the charity’s fundraising efforts, visit: Donate - Ayrshire Cancer Support (