Volunteers at a museum celebrating Hatfield's de Havilland Aircraft Company have been recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – "the MBE for volunteers".

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, preserves and exhibits the de Havilland aircraft history and memorabilia for the nation.

The heritage site's 130 active volunteers undertake many of the museum’s activities, including welcoming its many visitors, hosting visits from schools and clubs, and continually developing the prestigious collection and its social history.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Jonathan Fulwell, the museum's general manager, said: "I am delighted that our volunteers’ contributions have been recognised.

"Their commitment, skills, and sheer hard work have enabled the museum to recover strongly from the Covid pandemic, capitalise on our new display hangar and, for the first time, begin opening all year round."

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum was the first aviation museum in Britain, when it first opened to the public on May 15, 1959 – just 18 years after the Mosquito fighter W4052 had been flown out of adjacent fields by Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr.

Based at the site where the Mosquito was designed, the museum’s mission is to preserve and communicate the de Havilland heritage to ensure that current and future generations of all ages can learn about the company's massive contribution to innovative British aviation technology.

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. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum, which is situated between St Albans and South Mimms, is just one of 244 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this Platinum Jubilee year.

Herts Advertiser: Volunteers at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, have been recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.Volunteers at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, have been recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. (Image: de Havilland Aircraft Museum)

Representatives of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum will receive the award, crystal and certificate from Robert Ross CBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, and patron, the Duke of Gloucester, later this summer.

Furthermore, two volunteers from each group recognised will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023, depending on restrictions at the time, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

Of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Robert Voss said: “This is known as the MBE for volunteers and it is the volunteers who have been recognised by Her Majesty in this way.

"There are so many wonderful voluntary organisations in Hertfordshire all doing great work and the recipients represent the crème de la crème of the voluntary sector in the county.

"If one positive thing has come out of the pandemic it is the community and volunteering spirit and that is evident throughout Hertfordshire."

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is always looking for new volunteers.

Jonathan Fulwell added: “The museum has a wide variety of roles for anyone interested in joining our friendly museum.

"You don’t need to know anything about aircraft and you will have opportunity to make new friends, enjoy practical and informative learning opportunities, and contribute to our local heritage.”

New applicants are welcome to join the museum's community at volunteers@dehavillandmuseum.co.uk

More information about the museum can be found by visiting www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk