Anna Gorst, a remarkable resident from Arnside, has been named ‘Cumbria Woman of the Year’ at the annual Cumbria Women of the Year event.
Anna achieved the accolade for her incredible efforts in helping Ukrainian refugees.
When Ukraine was invaded by Russia, Anna decided something needed to be done to help those caught up in the conflict, so appealed on social media and her neighbours and friends stepped forward to help her to achieve her challenge of finding a safe place in her community for those fleeing their homes in Ukraine to live.
Anna has since matched Ukrainians with locals, overseen dozens of visa applications and helped to fundraise to bring refugees to the county.
Councillor Matt Severn, Chairman of Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “On behalf of Westmorland & Furness Council, I wanted to congratulate Anna Gorst who has been named as Cumbria Woman of the Year for her remarkable efforts in helping Ukrainian refugees.
“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anna posted a social media appeal for people in Arnside to provide shelter for those fleeing the war and has since helped match several Ukrainian refugees with local families.
“Anna is a trustee of Arnside Homes for Ukraine and has raised thousands to ensure safe passage into the UK for those caught up in the conflict.
“Offering refuge and safety to human beings fleeing war and destruction is the highest calling and in leading the way like Anna has, she has set a great example. In a world of dark times, people like Anna and those she has helped shine brightly.
"I want to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to Anna for her unwavering kindness and dedication to helping others.”
Cumbria Women of the Year was inaugurated in 1990 by Juliet Westoll, now a Patron. Initially to support Barnado’s at Kendal under the Patronage of the late Viscountess Whitelaw, the awards now seek to honour women from all walks of life.
The only criterion is that they are truly inspirational. Past winners have included charity workers, carers, campaigners, business women, those who overcome adversity and those who have worked tirelessly for others: all largely unsung heroines.