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 Rotary Young Citizen Award 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.

Bethan 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.

She has undergone numerous medical procedures and endless bullying during her childhood, but Bethan has triumphed over adversity and is now making a real difference in 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 has also opened up about her own medical conditions with an online blog in an effort to raise awareness about bullying.

Witham Rotary Club 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. 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 homes because of the pandemic challenging at times with the use of face masks making it harder for her to hear and understand colleagues.

But having overcome 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.”

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.”