AN INSPIRATIONAL support worker who has been working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic has received a national award.

Bethan Harvey, 24, was been awarded the The Rotary Young Citizen Awards for being a 'shining example' of the need for positive change.

Bethan has been working up to 80 hours a week at Mandalay care home in Bridge Street, Witham, in recent months while also continuing with a number of volunteering projects.

She was born with rare genetic conditions which led to the under development of one half of her face and no hearing in her partially formed ear.

Having been the subject of numerous medical procedures and endless bullying throughout her childhood, Bethan is now making a real difference throughout the community.

She has helped raise more than £25,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and is teaching sign language to children in an effort to spread awareness about hearing difficulties.

She also has also opened up about her own medical conditions with an online blog in an effort to raise awareness about bullying.

Witham Rotary nominated her for an award after becoming "inspired" by her amazing work and she has since gone on to claim the coveted Young Citizen Award for 2020.

Bethan said: "Winning the award, was a huge shock. I never expected it, let alone to be nominated.

"It hasn't really sunk in.

"I don't personally view this award as being mine or for me and actually see it as something for those growing up feeling different or alone.

"They should not be ashamed of who they are and for them to know no matter what regardless of age, ability, disability, background you can do anything and can and will succeed."

Bethan has found the dramatic changes brought into care home challenging at times, with the use of face masks making it harder for her to hear and understand colleagues.

But having overcome numerous challenges in the past - including thoughts of taking her own life due to bullying - she is rising to the challenge and continues to do all she can to help during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added: "It's been hard work for me personally in wearing masks as my Microtia ear cannot hold the mask straps in place and I also struggle with staff wearing masks as I rely on lip reading and cannot currently do this.

"It is harder to hear colleagues and the ladies we support.

"But on the whole it has been great fun with lots of fun and laughter and it's been great to see everyone coming together as a team and supporting one another."

Having claimed the Young Citizens Award, Bethan will receive a trophy, certificate and £300 to give to a charity of her choice.

She had been due to claim the prizes at a ceremony in Birmingham but this has been pushed back a year due to coronavirus.

Donna Wallbank, president of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, said: “Bethan Harvey is a shining example of why intergenerationally we each need to raise awareness of, and support those who are suffering because of the negative influence of others associated with bullying, sexuality, health and body image and why we each should develop our personal ability to communicate and understand others and to support those who like Bethan are leading examples of the need for positive change.”