A tireless group of volunteer musicians who can be seen at countless events around North Devon have been honoured with one of Barnstaple Town Council’s top accolades.

Barnstaple Town Youth Marching Band are the 2020 recipients of the RAF Community Plate, a prestigious trophy normally presented at the Annual Town Meeting.

Of course, with the Covid-19 crisis it has not been possible to hold the annual event and mayor Alan Rennles will serve another term of office.

It is hoped the presentation of the plate and other awards following the 2019-2020 mayoral year can be held once social distancing guidelines allow,

The RAF Community Plate was presented to the town of Barnstaple in 1974 to be awarded annually, by the full town council, to an individual or group deemed by the council to have made an outstanding contribution to the well-being of the community during the foregoing year.

Councillors deliberated on three nominations at a virtual council meeting on May 18, with Barnstaple Town Youth Marching Band, Soroptimist International of Barnstaple and District and The Brend Group all being considered.

All three nominations received considerable support and each group were considered worthy recipients but the band received the most votes.

The council said it was particularly impressed by the number of events the band had represented Barnstaple, far and wide across the county.

Councillors felt the performances were always of an exceptionally high standard and the positive impact on the lives of the young people involved is hugely admirable, as is the beneficial effect on the wider community.

Joy Cann, the band co-ordinator, said: “Barnstaple Town Youth Marching Band are absolutely delighted and highly honoured to be the recipients of the RAF Community Plate.

“This award comes at a time when we are unable to celebrate 15 years since our formation, so this is a fantastic acknowledgment.

“We greatly appreciate the recognition from members of Barnstaple Town Council in the contribution that our youth group and its leaders have made to the community.”

Previous holders of the plate have included the late Dave Butt, posthumously, plus the volunteers of Age Concern Barnstaple.

Soroptimist International of Barnstaple and District have done much to support other local charities during the foregoing 12 months, raising awareness of issues such as domestic violence, mental health and water poverty.

The Brend Group supports good causes in the area and more recently provided free accommodation to NHS staff.