Community champion Claire honoured with MBE

Portrait of MBE woman

Claire Twitchin - Credit: Submitted

Community champion Claire Twitchin has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list

She has received the award for services to the community in Teignmouth, particularly during Covid-19.

Claire said: "‘I am really not sure how this happened. I have just loved the idea of fundraising. I feel honoured, shocked and undeserving but it has been an absolute privilege to receive it.

"For many, many years, I came up with different ideas to raise money for good causes. My entire family have done the London Marathon, that’s myself, my husband and my two children.

"We have done cake sales for many charities over the years and recently a ‘head shave’.

Woman having her head shaved for charity

Hair-shave time - Credit: Submitted

"I put together a running group of local athletes who did a lot of fundraising in the area, but I think this award has come from an event I put together around a calendar that I did during the Covid lockdown.

"Every morning at sunrise I would take my little dog Eddie’ down to the beach and photograph the sunrise and then publish the photos on social media for people who couldn’t get out. People loved it! Then somebody suggested a calendar and with the money I made from that, I donated it to people who are making scrubs for Torbay Hospital. That was just over £1,000, I bought all the fabric myself and got to choose the material for use in the children’s ward at Torbay. I’ve just produced another calendar which is to go on sale soon."

Charity calendar

The charity calendar - Credit: Submitted

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She added: "I’m a massive promoter of our local beaches, a big beach cleaner and currently I’m getting on everyone’s nerves with my local online photography page, focusing on the rubbish left on our beaches. The new calendar money will go towards Surfers Against Sewage and the amazing charity ‘Above Water’."

Claire works at Mayfield school in Torquay and says: "I look after some incredible children with complex needs. After this interview I must go and tell the headteacher what has happened."

She has an idea who nominated her, adding: "I would love to thank an amazing lady - Jessica Mowson - who is a physio for the NHS.

"I understand she started this and approached several other people. I will wear it with pride and accept it on behalf of so many people who have supported me over the years."