TIRELESS volunteers at an amateur rugby league club have been presented with a Queen’s Award in recognition of their work.

The volunteers at Thatto Heath Crusaders were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony.

It is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

Around 500 people are involved with the club, which is mostly run by volunteers.

They overcame competition from groups across the UK to add to the community hero title they won at the Pride of St Helens Awards in November.

The success adds to the club's on field 2017 triumphs including the open age section winning both the NCL Premier League and NWML Premier League Grand Finals.

The women’s team also had seven members selected to play for England in the Word Cup held in Australia and the under 18s won the National and Lancashire Cups.

Its work included a successful bid to the Home Office to try and tackle anti-social behaviour in the area with outreach youth workers working in Thatto Heath engaging young people and encouraging them into positive activities.

The also with the council, schools, police and housing providers in this initiative with levels of anti-social behaviour reducing by more than 50 per cent since it’s been running.

Crusaders also run job clubs and work ready classes to help get people into employment with many examples of people finding work through their engagement.

Dignitaries gathered as the The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside presented the Award on behalf of her Majesty at a packed celebratory event at the club attended by many of the volunteers.

Committee member Cllr Richard McCauley said: “2017 was a phenomenal year for the crusaders who continue to be at the heart of the community, and it’s no surprise to me that success on the pitch follows hard work, the Queens Award is well deserved, I get to see first hand the commitment put in by all our volunteers which is truly inspiring.

Chairman Mike Denning added: “This award recognises the hundreds of volunteer hours that are given freely each week at our club.

"The on field success is measured in terms of trophies but across the club our player numbers have grown and we are bringing players into the game that haven’t played previously. That is as pleasing to us all as any trophies. We continue to build from here.”