A prestigious award from King Charles has been given to a community group based around Hexham.

The team at Northumberland Log Bank has been recognised in The King's Award for their community work delivering wood fuel for free to those in financial difficulties, poor health, advanced age or living in rural isolation.

Kate Thick set up the group in 2019 and has now handed over the reins to Fiona Read. The group has 20 dedicated volunteers to work long hours in all weathers to collect the wood which is donated by individuals, farms and estates.

The Queen’s Award was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups. On accession to the throne King Charles III has continued with the award which has been renamed The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. 

The awards were presented by Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, in her capacity as Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland. 

Alongside the Log Bank, two other charities were also recognised for their work.

Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland said: “The work of the volunteers within these three charities has made a significant and valuable difference to the lives of others.

“The King’s Award gives national recognition to extraordinary acts of voluntary service and is only given out in exceptional circumstances.

“These volunteers are extremely passionate about what they do, and their hard work and dedication is an inspiration to us all. These commendations are so very well deserved, and I am pleased to see them gain the recognition they so rightfully warrant.”

Lija Steel, 38, of Hexham, said finding out about the Northumberland Log Bank allowed her to stop worrying about recent price hikes as well as her health.

"I have several chronic illnesses that some require heat to help me stay as stable as I can be, without heat I would struggle," Lija said.

"I found it so helpful and it is a fantastic service, I am so thankful for what they are doing.

"I highly recommend it for anyone who needs some extra help to keep you warm through the winter months."