A KIND-hearted woman whose efforts saw Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war settle in the county has been named Cumbria Woman of the Year.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anna Gorst posted a social media appeal for people in Arnside to provide shelter for desperate refugees.

As a trustee of Arnside Homes for Ukraine, Ms Gorst has helped match Ukrainians with local families and raised thousands to ensure safe passage into the UK for those in desperate need.

Announcing the Amentum-sponsored award, the organisers said: "When Ukraine was invaded by Russia, Anna decided something needed to be done to help those caught up in the conflict.

"Like the rest of us she watched from afar wondering how much one Cumbrian woman could do on her own."

Her work led to Arnside being named the 'kindest' village in the UK following the overwhelming response from those who saw her post.

It is a story that has garnered national attention, in newspapers and on TV, including the BBC's One Show.

The Westmorland Gazette: Some of the refugees that Anna has helpedSome of the refugees that Anna has helped (Image: Newsquest)

"Anna is a force of nature and she had an idea which grew into a national news story," the committee added.

"What she has achieved in the past 18 months is incredible and has made an immense difference to so many lives."

The award was given to Ms Gorst on Wednesday at an annual lunch, held at the Belsfield Hotel in Bowness, to celebrate unsung heroines who work devotedly for the good of others.

The event offers the nominees a special day in a beautiful location as a thank you for their contribution to Cumbrian life and honours their successful achievements.

A team of 12 voluntary community representatives from all over the county made up the committee that voted on who should win the award.

Four committee members are former winners themselves, an exclusive group that Ms Gorst is now a part of.