Samaritan award for listening ear Stella

Photo Neil Cross'Stella Hayes has dedicated 25 years to volunteering with the Samaritans
Photo Neil Cross'Stella Hayes has dedicated 25 years to volunteering with the Samaritans
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A devoted Lancashire Samaritan who has dedicated 25 years to helping others has been rewarded with a national honour.

Stella Hayes, 70, has been visiting prisons to help inmates deal with issues such as self-harm and substance abuse, and has now received a British Citizen Award (BCA) for her services to volunteering and charitable giving.

The awards recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise everyday people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.

When Stella, from Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, began as a Samaritan 25 years ago, the team believed that prisoners should have the opportunity to talk to a Samaritan and receive support, just the same as the general public.

On winning the award, Stella said: “I didn’t expect to win anything, I just do what I do. I’m still in shock, I felt important for 10 minutes and I’m just coming back down to earth. It was a great evening.”