WORKERS at the town’s Mini plant are celebrating after their hard work helped win a national award.

The new Mini, which has parts made at the Stratton-based factory, was named the Auto-express car of the year at a lavish ceremony in London last week.

It is the third generation of the iconic car and is put together using labour from all across the south of England.

The body panels for the vehicle are made at the Swindon plant, which currently employs around 1,000 workers from the area.

As well as winning the overall Car of the Year Award, the Mini was also named Best Premium Small Car.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are all delighted at winning these awards. It is a fantastic achievement for all the hard work from the workers in Swindon and testament to everything they do.

“Winning this award demonstrates the enduring popularity of the Mini and bodes well for the future of the Swindon factory.

“This is not only great news for us and the workers, but also the local Swindon economy.”

The award was seen as a tribute to Sir Alec Issigonis, who designed the first car which became a symbol of the Swinging Sixties.

Speaking shortly after the awards, Mini UK director Chris Brownridge said: “This award is a real boost to all 6,000 Mini associates across Hams Hall, Swindon and, of course, Oxford, all of whom should be extremely proud of this achievement.

“They have created a car which in just a few months has captured the imagination of customers and the motor industry alike.

“The Mini Hatch is, of course, British-built and is a great British success story. We are soon to export our two-millionth car to one of the 110 markets around the world in which Mini is now sold.

“And while the quality, design and technology associated with this new Mini has taken an enormous leap forward, we’ve also managed to stay true to the character of Alec Issigonis’ pioneering design that made the original Mini so appealing and unique.”

This latest award rounds off a strong 12 months for workers at the plant.

At the end of 2013 BMW said that hundreds of agency workers would be given full time positions.

In February, it was confirmed £760 million was being invested in the Mini and that parts would be built in Swindon.