HEROES hailed as 'the lifeblood of our communities' have been bestowed with the highest national honour available to volunteers.

Three charitable groups in Oxfordshire have been announced today as among 250 recipients of the 2018 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

From feeding hungry stomachs to supporting cancer patients and preserving Oxford's history, the county's winners this year champion varied causes to help the community.

Botley-based The Oxford Food Bank was awarded for its work collecting and delivering food to vulnerable people in the community, and saving surplus food to support charities. 

The Oxford Bus Museum in Long Hanborough was also given the accolade.

It was praised in the list of awardees for its commitment to 'preserving and presenting in an engaging and informative way the story of how people travelled in and around Oxford'.

The Hummingbird Cancer Support and Therapy Centre was the other Oxfordshire recipient, owing to its dedication to helping cancer patients from its base in Launton near Bicester.

People can nominate causes for the awards, which were created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 to recognise outstanding contributions made by groups of volunteers.

This year saw a record number of groups receive the awards, which are announced every 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: "This year’s record number of Queen’s Award awardees are a powerful testimony to the remarkable achievements and innovative ideas which characterise volunteering in the UK.

"They prove that, more than ever, volunteers beavering away at grassroots level are the active lifeblood of our communities, identifying all kinds of problems and issues and tackling them with enthusiasm, talent and a high degree of success.

"The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, added: "Everyone who has received this award should be incredibly proud.

"Their service, commitment and care has a profoundly positive impact on communities throughout the country and I am delighted they have been recognised with this prestigious award.

"The record number of recipients this year is testament to the strength of the voluntary sector and I am sure this trend will continue into the future.

"If you know any organisations that deserve to be recognised, make your voice heard and nominate them for next year."

Nominations for the 2019 awards close on September 14.