AN ALTRINCHAM group of buskers that has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for charity has received the royal seal of approval.

Loose Change Buskers has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for its support for Cancer Research UK and community work.

The honour comes just a month after the group celebrated raising more than £250,000 for Cancer Research UK, six years after being formed to boost the charity.

Group founder Bernard Dolan said: "This is our second major award having won the Flame of Hope from Cancer Research UK in 2014.

"Any award gives us all a huge morale boost. But while it's great to receive recognition for what we achieve, we would carry on anyway.

"Everyone pays their own expenses, so every penny that's collected goes to our charity."

The group has become a familiar sight to shoppers in town centres throughout the borough since it was founded in 2010 by Timperley resident Bernard and his friend and fellow musician, John Fogel, from Altrincham, who were both members of a guitar club.

The inspiration came after someone brought a leaflet into the guitar club about busking for cancer.

Bernard and John took up the idea, and got a group of musicians together. They made their first appearance at the Stamford Quarter in Altrincham - and have never looked back.

Bernard said: "Everyone enjoyed it so much we just carried on."

The band has gone from strength to strength and there are now about 30 musicians who play for it.

Paula Jones, senior local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK in the North West, said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to the Loose Change Buskers. Thanks go to all the musicians and collectors who, over the years, have been out in all weathers, in and around South Manchester to raise money to fund our vital research.

“Thanks to research more people are surviving cancer than ever - but there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that more families can stay together for longer.

"Cancer Research UK funds research to help beat 200 types of cancer. The charity funded nearly £20million of research in Manchester last year.”

The group members will receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren J. Smith, and the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Edith Conn, at the Monastery in Gorton on July 4.

On May 24, two members of Loose Change, Brian and Marion Denbigh, were guests at a garden party at Buckingham Palace.