The group behind a ‘hugely valued hub for local tourism and education’ has been honoured with a prestigious award.

Volunteers at Beaminster Museum have been recognised for all their hard work and have been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The museum has around 70 volunteers that take on the tasks of stewards, specialists, constructing displays, conservation, cataloguing, researching, marketing, publicity, book-keeping, general administration and much more.

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

The award was presented to Murray Rose, chairman of the museum, at a special ceremony by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell.

He said: “I am delighted to present the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to this splendid organisation, the Beaminster Museum Trust.

“These most prestigious Queen’s awards are highly prized throughout voluntary organisations and demonstrate highly exceptional achievement. It is a true marker of success and signifies performance above and beyond.

“The Beaminster Museum Trust is a voluntary organisation on all levels. It is entirely volunteer led and staffed and fulfils an important role in the Beaminster locality.

“The trust maintains and curates an ever-increasing collection of exhibits.

“The trust has now been in existence for 30 years and had to overcome particular obstacles when acquiring the building. It had to initiate works to prevent the collapse of the structure due to the roof threatening the stability of the walls.

“Its serious problems were overcome, and the museum has become a focus for the local catchment area and many visitors from other arts of the country and abroad.

“The success of the Beaminster Museum Trust can be demonstrated in the current need to work towards the planned new extension.

“Over the years, Beaminster Museum has become a hub for local tourism and education, with regular school visits, talks and cultural events. In fact, it has made itself an essential catalyst for local culture and learning.

“This museum, fully accredited by the Arts Council, is a fine example of an organisation that is entirely run by local volunteers. It is hugely valued by the local community and extremely well organised. In my mind, and in my limited experience, it is certainly in the top rank of locally formed and run museum trusts.

“The award that I have the privilege of presenting is an acknowledgment of the extraordinary achievement of the Beaminster Museum Trust and all who are involved in this exemplary organisation, through your vision, dedication and hard work.

“I congratulate you all on your achievement and wish you continued success in the future.”

Mr Rose accepted the award on the volunteers’ behalf.

He said: “On behalf of all our volunteers, may I thank you for this award, we feel very honoured to receive it.

“This is a great compliment to the museum and it’s rather nice to walk around Beaminster having so many people congratulating us on the achievement.

“Voluntary principles were established when, through no fault of our own, we were left with a half-developed building and no money. Voluntary working enabled us to complete the task with money being raised only to supply materials. Likewise, cash strapped and needing displays, we enlisted our own talents to develop the displays.”

Two of the longest serving volunteers gave a speech about of what being a volunteer at the museum meant, with curator Brian Earle giving a humorous insight in what the museum might be like in 2040.