A HEALTH hero from Barrhead has admitted to “still being in shock” after winning a national award in recognition of her tireless work in the community.

Ann Marie Kennedy was the toast of the Scottish Health Awards in Edinburgh when she was named winner in the prestigious volunteers category.

The award recognises those who give their time freely to help improve the health and wellbeing of patients, carers and service users of NHS Scotland.

Ann Marie, who is chair of Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire, said: “I am delighted to have won the award but, to be honest, I am still in shock.”

The award was presented for Anne Marie’s work on the Wee Red Bus, which she launched in 2000. 

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The project provides transport to medical appointments for those who are frail, elderly, are isolated or who have mental health issues.

The success is another major recognition of Ann Marie’s work which has received widespread acclaim over the years.

In October, Ann Marie was presented with an MBE by Prince William in an investiture at Buckingham Palace. Her husband Noel and grandchildren Ryan and Melissa were guests of honour.

Ann Marie, 76, who is chair of Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire, has volunteered in the area for more than 20 years.

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She was also crowned East Renfrewshire Citizen of the Year in 2017.

To reach the final of the Scottish Health Awards, held at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, each candidate was assessed by a panel of NHS Scotland representatives and Scottish Government officials. 

Julie Murray, chief officer of East Renfrewshire HSCP, described Anne Marie as “truly an inspiration”.  

She added: “The work that she does for her community is commendable and East Renfrewshire is very lucky to have her. 

“Her endless passion in running and supporting community projects is like no other.  

“We need more Anne Marie’s in this world.”