A CHARITY raising funds to build a new base in Northallerton has won royal recognition.

Chopsticks, which works with adults with learning difficulties, has been presented with the Duke of York's Community Initiative Award. Trainee Martin Thorogood collected it from Prince Andrew at a ceremony in London.

The charity, which recycles scrap timber, has outgrown its premises in Springwell Lane and this year launched a major drive to raise enough cash for a new workshop on the outskirts of the town.

The Duke of York award, launched in 1997, recognises innovation and good practice among community groups. And Chopsticks managers are hoping that the royal thumbs-up will convert into donations and grants.

Chopsticks chairman Colin Walker said: "It will add to our credibility when we apply for grants and gives us more recognition for the work that we do."

The award means not only an endorsement from Prince Andrew, but also a personal visit.

Mr Walker said: "As we understand it, he tries to get round all the recipients of the award.

"Fingers crossed, we are hoping he will visit us within the next 12 months.

Mr Walker, colleague Colin Graham and Mr Thorogood attended a presentation day in London. They spent about 15 minutes chatting with Prince Andrew and explaining the charity's work of processing waste timber into firewood.

"He was quite interested in us because he is looking to help business enterprises in Yorkshire and we are both a charity and an enterprise," said Mr Walker.

To support the Chopsticks appeal ring (01609) 777292.