Lord Lieutenant of Devon hands out gongs at County Hall ceremony

Ian Sharp receives The British Empire Award from HM Lord Lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon at County Hall, Exeter for his services to the community in Lee and Ilfracombe. Picture: Devon County CouncilIan Sharp receives The British Empire Award from HM Lord Lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon at County Hall, Exeter for his services to the community in Lee and Ilfracombe. Picture: Devon County Council

North Devon community champions have received awards from the Queen's official representative.

At a ceremony in County Hall, Exeter, on Monday, Greeat Torrington cavaliers were presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant for Devon, David Fursdon.

At the same event, Ian Stuart was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community of Lee near Ilfracombe.

Steve Young, chairman of the Cavaliers fundraising group - famous for its giant bonfires - said they were honoured to receive the prestigious award.

"It recognises all the hard work done by the group since we were formed in 1970. It's estimated that we've raised and given away nearly half a million pounds in that time, helping thousands of local and national charities and good causes," he said.

"The founder members, and all who have been involved since, would be and are proud to be honoured in this way. The motto established by the founders of the group was, 'To provide entertainment the like of which Torrington has never seen before'. We will continue to do this and support the town in any way we can."

Ian Stuart, 72, presided as chairman over the rejuvenation of the Lee Memorial Hall, leading fundraising efforts to amass £130,000 to enable the refurbished building to reopen its doors in 2010.

He and his wife Cynthia are both dedicated to voluntary work, both with the hall and St Matthews Church at Lee.