OTLEY Courthouse, a local arts and resource centre based in the centre of Otley and run by over 100 volunteers based in and around Otley, has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Otley Courthouse is a unique development, run by local people, in Otley.

After an eight-year development period it was transformed from a redundant nineteenth century magistrates court into a unique ‘arts and resource centre’ for the community.

The centre opened in May 2004 and has gone from strength to strength – skilfully aided and abetted by a core staff team, over 100 volunteers, and local supporters, providing a thriving arts and resource centre in the former courthouse.

Representatives from Otley Courthouse, Jean Crawford and Pam Lamming attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Otley Courthouse is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.

It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on June 2 - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair Sir Martyn Lewis, said: “The record number of nominations for this year’s Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service proves that volunteering at a grassroots level continues to thrive. This year it is a real pleasure to congratulate 281 winners - all with strong reputations for successfully tackling a wide variety of issues and problems in their communities. They are powerful examples of real democracy in action.

“We know there are thousands more local organisations doing great work, and I would strongly encourage those people who have seen them in action or benefitted from their activities to consider nominating them for next year’s awards. They are the highest our country can bestow on groups of volunteers.”