EACH year, the Rotary Club of Cirencester honours people who have made a significant contribution to the life of the local community.

The award is given in recognition of an exceptional contribution to the community which might not otherwise be recognised.

This year, the Club presented this Community Service Award to Barbara and William Cooper to recognise their contribution to the voluntary life of Cirencester and, in particular, the astounding effort they put into the development and management of the LEGO model of the Abbey during last year’s Abbey 900 celebrations.

During the planning and building stages of the LEGO Abbey project, William and Barbara personally completed over 3000 hours of volunteer time.

They managed the training and deployment of an army of volunteers and kept the project on track during the six-month build.

LEGO Abbey engaged enthusiastic participants from all over the world. The youngest person to place a brick was two years old and the oldest was 102.

The citation for the award was read by last year’s winner, Meg Blumsom, who had worked very closely with Barbara and William on Abbey 900 and was able to give an intimate insight into the inspirational contribution they made.

The award was presented by Rotary President Shaun Gibson.

He said: “Barbara and William totally immersed themselves in the LEGO Abbey project and through their unstinting efforts enabled many other people - including many Rotarians and Inner Wheel members - to join in as both volunteers and through community participation. Without their personal input, the project may not even have got off the ground – it certainly would not have been such a resounding success.”

In accepting the award, Barbara said: “We are honoured to receive this award. Organising volunteers to act as stewards during the build was a challenge and we were particularly grateful to Inner Wheel and Rotary for providing consistent and totally reliable support.

"The LEGO build created a community focus and energy which is an even more important legacy than the model itself.”

* Details of Cirencester Rotary Club and forthcoming meetings are available at cirencester-rotary.org.uk