A GROUP of Wirral volunteers have won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for their work protecting local wildlife.

Wirral Wildlife, a local volunteer group of Cheshire Wildlife Trust,  was established to protect and champion wildlife on the Wirral and the award recognises  members’ achievements over the last 46 years.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust nominated the group to receive the award, which was then judged by an independent assessment committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.

Sarah Bennett, area manager West at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This award reflects how much Wirral Wildlife have achieved to support wildlife across the Wirral.

“The group’s commitment is truly inspirational and the amount of time each volunteer gives to the work of the group is exceptional. Their support as volunteers is vital to the Trust’s work – from their passion for encouraging others to value wildlife through to their hands-on practical work at our nature reserves.”

The award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is described as the MBE for volunteer groups.

As part of the award, representatives from Wirral Wildlife have been invited to attend the Royal Garden Party and the group will receive an English Crystal and a signed certificate from Her Majesty The Queen. The group will also be named in a special edition of The London Gazette.

“As chairman of Wirral Wildlife since 2004 I know that the group has built a tradition of over forty years of service to the cause of wildlife and protection of the environment in the Wirral Peninsular. We are all delighted to have been honoured in this unique way and are most grateful to those who nominated us” said Stephen Ross.

Wirral Wildlife attracts volunteers of all ages and experience. Some join the group to be able to carry on using their wildlife knowledge and skills after retirement while others are just at the start of their budding ecological career or have a love for wildlife. Many of the dedicated volunteers have been involved for a number of decades and use their experience to encourage others to become interested in the fun that interacting with wildlife can bring as well as the importance it has to everyone’s lives.

The group undertake ecological surveys, carry out habitat management, offer wildlife advice and training and run a variety of events across the year. As well as many local wildlife sites throughout the Wirral, the group supports conservation work and provides events at a number Cheshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves including Cleaver Heath Nature Reserve in Heswall, New Ferry Butterfly Park, and Red Rocks Marsh at Hoylake.