By royal appointment - volunteer drivers are honoured for their work

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A group of volunteers who drive cancer patients to radiotherapy sessions has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The Primrose Volunteer Transport Service offers free lifts to patients who are being treated at Bedford Hospital but need to travel to Addenbrookes, more than 30 miles away in Cambridge, for radiotherapy sessions.

Volunteer driver and co-ordinator Peter Marks said: “The drivers are, of course, delighted that they have been recognised for their good work.

“Each driver will pick up a maximum of three patients, who often find themselves bonding and supporting each other with their treatment.”

The service, which was established in 2006, has 25 volunteer drivers on its books.

They will be presented with a certificate signed by the Queen, and a crystal trophy, at a ceremony conducted by Bedfordshire’s Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis.

The Queen’s Award carries the same prestige as an individual MBE.

The service was nominated for it last year by a trustee of the Bedford Hospital Charity, which funds its three Vauxhall Zafira vehicles.

The car company also supports them by offering the cars at a ‘favourable rate’ and donating fourth car. A spokeswoman for the firm, which has its UK headquarters in the county, said: “Vauxhall is proud and delighted the service has received The Queen’s Award for its dedication to the community. This charity is just amazing and we are so pleased for them.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award made to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

It was introduced in 2002 as part of celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and is announced on June 2, the anniversary of her coronation.

The Primrose volunteer service is run in conjunction with the East of England Ambulance Service and the Bedford Hospitals Charity, and is believed to be the only charitable operation of its kind in this country.