THEY are the unsung heroes who together have volunteered for more than 100 years to helping children learn to read.

Bicester-based charity Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh) works one-to-one with children across the county in a bid to help them learn to read during school time.

Almost 350 children have been supported by a team of about 100 volunteers at the charity devoting dozens of hours every week.

Those volunteers were honoured at a ceremony on Tuesday as a thank you for their dedication to helping youngsters throughout the county.

ARCh development manager Elaine Adams said: "ARCh is lucky to have such wonderfully committed volunteers who give so much of their time.

"We ask for just one year’s commitment and our team work very hard to ensure that the experience is a positive and rewarding one.

"Because of this, many volunteers continue year after year which is a huge benefit to the charity and the schools that they support."

A number of volunteers were awarded for multiple years' service such as Jill Cheeseman and Donald Ferris, who have both dedicated 10 years to the charity cause.

The special award of the evening went to volunteer Lawrence Wyatt who has dedicated more than 13 years working in William Morris School in Banbury.

Mr Wyatt was awarded the Christopher Quinton award – in memory of the first chairman of trustees who helped set up ARCh in 2008 – for outstanding commitment.

Mrs Adams added: "We are in full admiration for our volunteers and all for the work they are doing.

"We and the children of Oxfordshire are very lucky to have them offering their time and skills so generously."