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An inspirational heroine

Photo caption: Samantha Woon Local Hero Award 2013, photo by Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Callers to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust offices in Allet might think that Samantha Woon the receptionist is just that. But this young woman has associated with Harrods boss Al Fayed, Sir Richard Branson, Tim Smit at the Eden Project, even Prince Charles, and has raised a considerable amount of money for charity.

Now Sam, aged 22 from St. Agnes, has been recognised by Pirate FM through their Local Heroes Awards 2013 as the winner of their Inspiration to Others within the local community category. The awards were presented at a glittering awards ceremony held at the Eden Project on Friday 12th April. Her mum, Cheryl Woon, who has supported her throughout the years, nominated her for the Pirate FM award.

Sam Woon, HR Assistant, for Cornwall Wildlife Trust says, “I feel very honoured to receive the award and it’s nice to think that I can inspire young people to raise money for causes they are passionate about and not to let anything hold them back”.

Sam’s charity work has mainly involved the Cornwall Blind Association. As a child Sam underwent four eye operations and still to this day has double vision.

When she was 10 years old she wrote to the Queen asking for help in doing a sponsored read. When she didn’t receive a reply she wrote to Prince Charles explaining that, “Your mummy didn’t write to me so I am writing to you”.

The end result was a letter from Prince Charles explaining that she couldn’t do a sponsored read at the Palace but she could do one in the Tower of London, which she did.

Sam worked as a tour guide at the Eden Project for a day and Tim Smit nominated her salary to the Cornwall Blind Association. She asked Mohamed Al-Fayed, former owner of Harrods, if she could work at the store, and again have her wages donated to the Association. He replied that she was too young, but invited her to spend a day at the store, where she was presented with a hamper of food which she then raffled for the blind. Sir Richard Branson gave her two tickets for the London Eye, which again she raffled for the Association.

Closer to home she abseiled down Truro’s County Hall, served dinner on HMS Cornwall and helped organise a barn dance!

All the money Sam raised went into the Sammy Woon fund, specifically to help children under the age of 11 with sight problems.

She was more recently part of a group of students from Richard Lander School who helped with the refurbishment of a school and clinic in Uganda. Sam helps raise money for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, particularly in connection with the Fox Club junior section of the Trust, as well as working for them as a human resources assistant and receptionist.

Sam was an Olympic Torch bearer, carrying the flame in Penzance and has donated her torch to St. Agnes museum. Sam says, “I was nominated by the community and felt that they should eventually have the Torch.”

Over the years Sam’s efforts have not gone unnoticed and in 2006 she was received the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational People.

Her charity work will not stop here. Sam is now trying to raise funds so she can go travelling and be involved in charity work with an orphanage and elephants in Thailand and Laos.

The Pirate FM Local Heroes Awards 2013 is being sponsored by Specsavers, and Sam’s particular award is sponsored by Hawkins Motor Group.

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