The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, which looks after 87 miles of waterway, will receive a royal award in recognition of its restoration work.

The organisation, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, will be awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest recognition for volunteer groups in the UK.

It will receive the accolade for its leadership of the restoration of the canal and its buildings over the past half century, and for creating a landscape valued by the whole community.

The waterway was officially re-opened by the Queen in 1990 after the trust worked to restore 85 derelict locks, including the Caen Hill flight, 172 pairs of gates, a leaking canal bed, crumbling aqueducts and two abandoned pumping stations.

Rob Dean, chair of the canal’s trustee board, said it had around 600 volunteers in total and received 11 million visitors along the length of the canal each year.

He said: “To receive this award from Her Majesty after she re-opened the waterway 23 years ago is the icing on the cake for us.

“This is a great honour for us and an absolute tribute to the tireless work of thousands of volunteers from Bath to Burghfield, Wilton to Woolhampton, and others in between, who have given their time so generously over the past 50 years to complete the restoration of the Kennet and Avon.

“People have given from a few spare hours to the best part of their lives to the canal, everything from helping out in our tea rooms, crewing our fantastic fleet of boats, hours of form-filling for grants, to clearing canal beds and towpaths.

“I and the rest of the trustees will always be incredibly grateful to them, many of who are sadly no longer with us, and also to our present generation of fantastic volunteers who are helping to protect and enhance the waterway for future generations.”

Devizes MP Claire Perry said: “The Kennet and Avon Canal is one of the jewels in the Devizes constituency and I know from my visits just what a great job the KACT and its volunteers do to preserve it.

"I am delighted the trust is being recognised for their outstanding work on their 50th anniversary and wish them the best of luck for the next 50 years.”

The trust is working on a number of new family-friendly events this year, including opportunities to drive a steam engine at Crofton Pumping Station, near Marlborough, and boat trips out of Devizes, Bradford on Avon, and Hungerford.

It continues to need volunteers with a wide range of skills, from business skills to practical skills, to keep the waterway open.

For more information about events or to volunteer e-mail or call 01380 721279.