COMMUNITY radio station Swindon 105.5 has officially won the Queen’s seal of approval, with a special award in recognition of its work in the town.

The station, which broadcasts every day from Stratton Road, was one of 111 volunteering groups from around the country to be given a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

The award, which is given to groups nominated by the public, was first established during the Golden Jubilee and is equivalent to an MBE for individuals.

Station manager Shirley Ludford was delighted to find out they had won the award in an announcement on Monday.

She said: “When the High Sheriff visited us he was very impressed and he has to report back to the Queen and I think that’s where the nomination came from.

“It was quite a long process, it took about six months and some people came to visit us during that time and find out a bit of what we do and spoke to some of our volunteers.

“I was absolutely delighted because it’s such an honour for everyone at Swindon 105.5 to be recognised in this way.”

Shirley said she thought that they had won the award in recognition of the devotion of all the volunteers at the station.

She said: “I think it’s because there’s so much dedication here to make a difference and provide every opportunity we can to get people in if they want to.

“I never turn anyone away, there is always something we can do to help people who want to get involved.

“I think the biggest change in the people who come and volunteer with us is their confidence.”

The award is just the latest in a string of accolades, which started this year with a High Sheriff award in recognition of Shirley’s devotion to philanthropy.

Later in March Shirley had a surprise visit from Boyzone as a thank you for her work when she appeared on ITV’s Surprise Surprise.

Then last month, Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg signed up to be patron of the station.

Shirley said: “I am really, really proud. We really have had an amazing start to the year.”

Swindon 105.5 will receive a certificate signed by the Queen and a a commemorative crystal presented by the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenants, and volunteers will also be able to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party.

The award is overseen by the Office for Civil Society, in the Cabinet Office. Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society said: “Groups and organisations like those honoured today are the key to inspiring the country to get involved in volunteering and make a difference in their community.”