THOUGHTFUL volunteers who give up their time to help youngsters have received the highest honour possible from Her Majesty The Queen.

The kind ‘expedition’ volunteers who run the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme at St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm have received the Award for Voluntary Service – the group equivalent of the MBE.

David Girdwood, who is the school’s rector, say the group, pictured, deserve the prestigious honour.

He said: “St Columba’s is exceptionally fortunate to have such a dedicated, committed and experienced group of volunteers who ensure that the highest standards of training and supervision on the hills is enjoyed by its young people. 

“In each session, over 120 participants benefit from the School’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme, which is run entirely in-house. 

“The life skills developed are invaluable to our pupils’ educations.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Award has been running at the school for over 30 years at gold, silver and bronze levels.

The volunteers who dedicate their time to making the initiative such a success come from across the St Columba’s School community, including former and current staff, parents and pupils.

Big-hearted volunteers across Inverclyde are proving to be trailblazers when it comes to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

During the past few years, several community groups have received the top award – including Your Voice, The Clydeside Singers, the 32nd Greenock and District Scout Group and Inverclyde Tourist Group.