Queen thanks volunteers for helping Britain through the pandemic

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II marks British Science Week

LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth has thanked the millions of people who stepped up to volunteer during the pandemic in Britain, including those who delivered food, medicines and friendship to vulnerable people shielding at home for months.

The 94-year-old Queen joined Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of heir-to-the throne Prince Charles, on a video call to meet and thank volunteers from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) which helped to coordinate the national response.

"I think it's wonderful work," the Queen told the five volunteers on the call. "Thank you to everybody - and all the others too who have been volunteering. It has been a great help."

Camilla added: "We couldn't have done without you".

The RVS helped mobilise volunteers at the start of the pandemic, working with the National Health Service. Buckingham Palace said the queen wanted to thank the 12.7 million people in the UK who had volunteered since March last year.

The royals heard from Simon Holmes in the north east of England who said it had been humbling to know that the people he met may not speak to anyone else on that day.

The palace also announced that the Queen's Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead this year in its traditional form in London. Options for an alternative parade at Windsor Castle are being considered.

(Reporting by Kate Holton. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)