A dedicated volunteer from Warwick has been named as Britain’s Community Hero of the Year.
Trisha Shaw, 47, won her award at the Britain Has Spirit awards in London on Sunday, September 25.
She fought off fierce competition to win the public vote and collected £25,000 for the dog rescue service Rugby Pawprints from TV presenter Gabby Logan and the director of Together Mutual Insurance Chris McElligott.
Speaking about her nomination before the awards ceremony, Trisha said: “It was initially quite a shock - it just came completely out of the blue!
“The woman who nominated me lives in Leamington and she’d seen me out and about searching for dogs and putting up posters.
“I think she felt quite moved that someone was giving up their time to do something to help the animals and their owners.
“I started volunteering at Rugby Pawprints 18 months ago as a voluntary dog walker and from that point on they just couldn’t get rid of me!
“My youngest child left school recently and has become independent so I’ve been redirecting a lot of my energy into things like this, which I love.
“I just hope that if I was ever in that situation of losing a dog, someone would do the same to help me.”
Trisha also explained that it would take the Pawprints volunteers years to raise as much as £25,000 on their own.
She says the donation will cover an entire year’s worth of vets bills for the dogs in their care - and that the charity may even be able to increase the number of dogs kennels it can rent.
After her win was revealed, Trisha said: “It’s overwhelming, such a huge team effort went into this and we are so grateful to all the people who voted throughout this process. My thanks also goes out to Together Mutual Insurance who made Britain Has Spirit possible and celebrates the volunteers in communities.
“The £25,000 prize money will be going to Pawprints Dog Rescue helping stray, abandoned and sick dogs that no-one wants to heal and re-home them.”
Pawprints founder and trustee Anita Twigger said: “Pawprints is very grateful to Trisha Shaw and her army of supporters, who campaigned so hard to win the Britain Has Spirit award.
“Trisha is an integral member of the Pawprints team and works very hard to ensure our rescue runs smoothly.
“We cannot believe how lucky we are to be the nominated charity to receive such an enormous sum of money.
“Trisha is a lovely, caring lady who inspires everyone she meets to be the best they can be.
“Thank you Trisha.”
To find out more information about Rugby Pawprints, call 07415 030165 or go online to: www.pawprintsdogrescue.org