SINCE retiring more than a decade ago Pat Mortimer has always been there to lend a helping hand to those in need.

The 64-year-old, of Birch Street, Rodbourne, became the second recipient of the Adver’s Unsung Hero Award this week after being nominated by a host of people, who still remain a mystery to her.

The former Barclays Bank accounts supervisor, who has always lived and worked in Swindon, was delighted when she was presented with a bouquet of flowers from local florist George Lesley.

Now working part-time at the Rainbow Bookshop, in Edgeware Road, she has been nominated by her colleagues at the store and also by others who are impressed by the way she helps others, some with learning difficulties or others dealing with loneliness.

Grandmother-of-two Pat said: “I’m a bit shocked. When I got the phone call I was surprised and a bit embarrassed – I don’t think I do anything out of the ordinary.

“You always think of a hero as being superhuman and I’m not really. I just like being sociable and talking to people and I guess people find it easy to talk to me.

“I don’t know how many people I’ve helped – I don’t look at it that way. I’m helping one guy at the moment who has learning difficulties and just needs someone to talk to. I help with the shopping or running people to appointments, things like that.”

Among those who nominated her were Tina Campbell and Alex Shakh, of the Rainbow Bookshop, who said: “For many years she has quietly and without complaint helped many people throughout Swindon, often at the expense of her own time and needs. She has a true self-sacrificial spirit; she never looks for any reward and never boasts of the help she provides to those in need.”

Pal Anthea Thackstone said: “Pat is the perfect candidate. She is always there when you need her and has endless patience. She helps the sick, elderly and disadvantaged in innumerable ways.”

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