A church which has carried out projects helping hundreds of Wiganers has received the country’s top honour for voluntary service.
The World Mission Society Church of God (UK Zion) picked up the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester at a lavish ceremony.
Congregation members have done projects including cleaning up Wigan and Leigh town centres, tidying Mesnes and Jubilee parks and putting on activities and entertainment for elderly people at care homes in Norley Hall and Pemberton.
The church, whose volunteer teams are recognisable by their matching bright yellow T-shirts when out and about doing their good works, were presented with a certificate signed by Her Majesty and a commemorative crystal at Gorton Monastery.
Senior church leader Michael King said: “Members of the World Mission Society Church of God are overjoyed to have their efforts recognised through the highest possible award from Her Majesty the Queen.
“We aim to spread Mother’s love and community spirit through many voluntary initiatives. With this award, we look forward to reaching out our helping hands even more in the future.”
The church has previously been commended by Wigan Council as well as the other town halls in Greater Manchester.
Its community work has also included cleaning up graffiti, running blood donor drives and helping flood victims.
The group is now entitled to use the award’s emblem on its website, stationary and promotional material.
After the church was announced as one of this year’s award winners senior leader Mr King accompanied general pastor Kim Joo-Cheol to a garden party at Buckingham Palace where they got the chance to meet the Queen.
Commenting on the region’s award winners, the Lord Lieutenant Warren Smith said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a voluntary group and these are very worthy recipients.
“Each one makes an exceptional contribution to their community and helps to greatly improve the lives of local people.
“For so many to give up their time for others is tremendous and this award is extremely well deserved.”
A total of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have this year received the Queen’s Award, which is given out on the anniversary of Elizabeth II’s coronation.