A KIND-HEARTED woman who has spent the past 20 years tirelessly helping the community has been honoured with a top award.

Kaye Franklin, 72, of Kembrey Park, was heralded as an asset to the town and given the Member of the Year award at the Midcounties Co-operative awards at the Menzies Hotel.

Kaye has played a central role in the voluntary and community sector in Swindon for the past 20 years, helping to find volunteers for charities in need of workers and offering advice and support to people seeking volunteer work.

Kaye said: “I’ve been involved with volunteering and charities in Swindon for so long now that I really didn’t expect to win.

“There are so many people doing really worthy things for the communities in the town, so to be recognised like this is very surreal.”

Kaye was awarded a prize of £500 for herself and another £500 to split between the charities of her choice.

“Being able to hand a donation to the Volunteer Centre and Mediation Plus is the best part of winning Member of the Year but it will be nice to be able to treat my family a little too,” she said.

“I keep talking about retiring but really I’m so passionate about wanting to make Swindon be the best it can be, that I will always have time for the organisations I work with.

“I do a little mentoring and trustee work and I’d like to focus on encouraging more young people to volunteer.”

Along with supporting charities, Kaye is also part of a steering group that established Swindon Carers.

She also volunteers with Age Concern, Dial-a-Ride, Swindon Festival of Literature and the Richard Jefferies Society.

Di Bateman, head of membership engagement, said: “Kaye’s award is incredibly well-deserved.

“She is passionate about making a difference in Swindon and has become central to so many of the townspeople’s lives, giving her time and working hard to make a difference. Embodying the Co-operative values to this extent is great to see in this International Year of Co-operatives, which is all about supporting others.”

The awards were part of celebrations to mark the International Year of Co-operatives and aim to celebrate unsung heroes who, by their community work or support for the environment or ethical trading, embody the ideals of the Co-operative movement.