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Great Shefford woman is crowned Coronation Champion

A GREAT Shefford woman has been chosen for a prestigious Coronation Champion Award.

The awards, launched by Royal Voluntary Service, celebrate the work of extraordinary volunteers across the UK.

Jane Fairchild was among more than 5,000 people from across the land who were nominated.

And she was one of the final, 500 volunteers who were hand-picked by a judging panel presided over by the Queen, to be crowned Coronation Champions.

Ms Fairchild, pictured at a Buckingham Palace garden party last June, received a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a signed certificate from King Charles III.

She was put forward for the award by the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice charity in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Ms Fairchild has been supporting the charity for over a decade and has raised a staggering £49,500 in that time.

She and her knitting team, known as ‘Colleen’s Crafters’ after her late mother, have handmade thousands of toys, clothes and gifts which they then sold by attending around 40 community events each year.

Ms Fairchild and her mother Colleen began supporting the charity in 2012.

After her mother’s death in 2018, she redoubled her efforts in her memory.

Initially there were eight other ladies who were knitting soft toys and children’s clothing for the stall.

Over the years, Colleen's Crafters has grown and there are now 22 members.

Ms Fairchild said: “I love volunteering for Alexander Devine and it is all the more special because it was something I started with my amazing mum.

“Alexander Devine was a charity that was close to her heart and I know that she would be so proud of all that we have gone on to achieve.

“Winning this award is amazing and I am in complete shock.

“It was such a lovely surprise and I am so touched that the Alexander Devine team nominated me.”

The charity’s volunteer development manager, Debbie Tonkinson, said: “Jane thoroughly deserves this amazing recognition, and we are so proud of her.

“Her phenomenal fundraising with her team of knitters has made a huge difference to our charity both financially and also vitally in helping raise awareness of our children’s hospice service in Berkshire.

“Jane’s tireless drive to do all she can to champion our charity is incredible and so inspiring to others.

“Over the last decade, Jane and her team has raised a staggering £49,500.

“To date, this total would be enough to fund more than 1,000 hours of specialist care for children and families.”

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