Sellafield worker wins Pride of Cumbria award

A Sellafield worker from West Cumbria has been awarded the ITV Border Regional Pride of Britain “Fundraiser of the Year” award for her efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shona Cunningham, 32, from Workington has been given the award after raising £30,000 to help nurses and care workers across West Cumbria.

The funds were used to pay annual registration fees for some West Cumbrian nurses as well as providing comfort packages to hospitals and care homes in the area.

When speaking about the award, Shona said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked.

”I don’t even think it’s properly sunk in, it’s absolutely amazing. I’m so thankful for everyone who voted and all the kind messages from the nurses.”

Her “lightbulb moment” came whilst driving to work on 20 March after seeing nurses struggling to get things in the supermarkets after finishing shifts at local hospitals.

She said: “I think people wanted to do something but they didn’t know what to do or where to go and I think I was a bit of a instigator in taking the lead on it.”

After raising £1000 in the first 24 hours, Shona went to local supermarkets to create the care packages and distributed them to West Cumberland Hospital, Lillyhall Ambulance Depot and numerous local care homes.

She told one story in which two carers who were working at a care home rife with the virus broke down in shock at the thoughtfulness of their community.

Shona received large donations from Leila’s Bows and Unite the Union amongst others which helped towards the payment of 170 nurses £120 annual registration fees as well as 2,000 meals to local care homes and hospitals.

She said: “I wish I could have done more in a way.

“I’m really thankful to everybody that donated.”