A youth worker from Gunwalloe has started the new year with an award which recognises her year-round dedication to her local community.

Ellie Britain-Long, pictured, who volunteers as a lifeguard at her local surf club, has been named as a regional winner in the vInspired National Awards.

Now in their fifth year, the awards, run in association with RBS Early Careers, are the biggest of their kind, celebrating the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and the youth workers who support them.

They aim to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting the creativity, motivation and generosity of some of the most inspiring young volunteers in the country. Ellie has scooped the South West top prize in the “outstanding contribution by a youth worker” category.

She was inspired to join her local surf club by her younger brother and sister, but at 15 felt too old to train with them and so decided to use her strong swimming skills to coach them instead.

She now runs regular swimming classes for children in her community, as well as teaching them about water safety, and also runs a special class for children with autism.

She is passionate about using her skills and abilities to help others and is planning to train to become a doctor.

Ellie said: “It’s such an honour to be presented with this award.

“You don’t do youth work to get awards, knowing you’re helping young people is enough motivation, but it’s great to know that people appreciate what I do, and I hope that this might inspire other people to get involved.”

Terry Ryall, vInspired CEO, said: “Ellie is a complete inspiration. A good youth worker goes the extra mile to help young people. Ellie has done all this and more and should be immensely proud of her achievements.”

The national winers will be revealed in London on March 27.