Christine Westlake presented with Halifax Giving Extra Award

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A Braunton woman has been presented with an award for her 38 years of community work.

Christine Westlake was handed the Halifax Giving Extra award, as well as flowers and a box of chocolates, at the Barnstaple branch of Halifax bank on Friday after being selected as one of 67 local winners across the country.

Nominated by her husband Stanley, she has organised a lunch group in the village for older and disabled people for 18 years, which serves hot meals to up to 50 people and gives them a chance to socialise with others. Christine has also been a Guides leader for 38 years and has helped out with her local Cubs for the past 14 – all despite suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

Halifax’s Cris Taylor, who was tasked with choosing the winner in Devon, said Christine was an obvious choice.

“We were lucky this year and received more than 50 nominations,” he said. “Christine really stood out though in terms of the length of time she had been making a difference, and to all age groups.

“It’s about how selflessly she’s made a difference to the people and the community of North Devon.”

Christine, who has previously been named Braunton Rotary Club Citizen of the Year for her community work and fundraising, said she was ‘totally speechless’ when she found out she had won.

“I am so amazed that I have won an award for my community work as there are so many other people who have done so much as well. I really enjoy organising the lunch group and hope more people want to join.”

Christine said that she was ‘grateful’ to her husband for nominating her, after Stanley also put her forward to carry the Paralympic flame in 2012.

On top of the award, Halifax pledged to give up to £200 to help with the meals in the future.

“That’s even more amazing and worth more than the prize itself,” she added.

“I’m not well enough to work but volunteering has always kept me busy, and I think that’s important for anybody.”

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