A KENDAL volunteer has picked up a national award for her work with the service that saved her daughter’s life.

Sue Funning, along with Eddie Manion of Merseyside, took home the Participant of the Year gong at the NHS England Excellence in Participation Awards.

The awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of people and organisations across the country who are transforming lives and improving services.

Mrs Funning was nominated for the support she gives The Junction in Lancaster, which cares for teenagers suffering mental health problems She said: “Our daughter Bekah spent two years at the centre and they did such a fantastic job looking after her. We owe her life to them so I just wanted to give something back.”

Once Bekah left The Junction, which takes up to eight young people from south Cumbria and Lancaster at a time, her mum joined a family support group, eventually becoming a co-leader.

She also works on an advisory committee, ‘The Crew’, which involves her sitting on panels, reviewing policies, and more.

“When we were going through the bleakest time in our life we had a wonderful network of support from family, friends and the church, but to meet parents who really understood was important,” she said. “That’s why, if I can just give them a little glimpse of support, my jobs is done.”

And she did not expect to win the award, which she collected at a glittering ceremony. She said: “We were up against eight other people and when I read their stories I didn’t think I was in with a chance, so I was so shocked when we won.

“Bekah is also delighted. When she was ill I was her full-time carer, so we have travelled every step of the way together. She was just very pleased that the hard work of The Junction has been nationally recognised.”

Participation lead and specialist social worker Lindy Simpson, who nominated the pair, said: “I am so excited that they won, it is testament to their hard work and commitment.”