Following dozens of local nominations for the Covid Community Champions Awards run by Hexham MP Guy Opperman, the first winners have now been presented with their certificates.

The Coronavirus Community Champions Awards, launched in March, honour those who have carried out selfless work in support of an individual or community over the past year.

Mr Opperman took the opportunity of a visit to the Tyne Valley from Conservative Party Chair, Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP, to come and present the award to Deborah Blackburn in Prudhoe.

Deborah was nominated by her daughter Joanna.

She said her mum was incredible, after the retired NHS worker signed up to cover shifts through the NHS bank throughout the first lockdown.

Deborah is now volunteering with the vaccination programme, as well as cooking at the Miners Lamp Café and Community Hub.

Presenting the award during a visit to Prudhoe with Mr Opperman, Amanda Milling MP said: “It was great to meet Deborah, and hear of the great work she has done for her local community in Prudhoe.”

Mr Opperman said: “Deborah is a true community champion.

“It was great to meet her and to celebrate Deborah’s willingness to come out of retirement to work in the NHS and now to be volunteering with the local vaccination programme.

“It is this kind of selfless action that will help us all to get through the Covid pandemic and to look forward to better days ahead.”

Over the course of the next few weeks Mr Opperman will be continuing to visit communities across the constituency to present awards and to celebrate the special contribution people have made to their community through the Covid-19 pandemic.