In 2012, set out to find the very first shining example of bravery and grace under pressure when it searched for its Most Deserving Local Hero.

With the news otherwise filled with tragedy and negative events on an almost daily basis, we decided to put the spotlight on those who had experienced adversity and still become a shining example of community spirit and positivity. Our Most Deserving Local Hero would be someone who shows remarkable strength in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

Just as overwhelming was the amount of entries we received! All over the UK we heard stories of warmth and courage displayed by an amazing group of people who each shared their tales of hardship and displays of great inner strength. It was extremely difficult to choose just one winner given how humbled we felt – but in the end one story stood out above all others.

The story of our very first Most Deserving winner is a true inspiration; Caroline Rutley-Frayne from Tiverton in Devon was involved in a road traffic accident in 2008 which not only caused the loss of her right arm and leg, but also the tragic death of her husband.

Such a loss is bound to affect anyone in the most adverse of ways, but the strength that Caroline showed in the wake of this event would be an inspiration to anyone. Not only does she greet each new challenge with renewed determination but she also finds the time to volunteer at a local school and in a hospital. She also cares for her youngest child and has even taken part in a Skydive to raise funds for charity!

Her family and friends are under no doubt that Caroline is a hero in the ways that she has faced up to her own adversity and been able to help others in her situation too.

Aside from the prestigious title, Caroline’s Most Deserving Award also constituted a Ford Focus worth £10,000, which she gave to her daughter to make caring for her easier as she lives a distance away. The other prize of a £2,500 donation to charity was made in Caroline’s name to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, the team who responded to Caroline’s accident; in rural Devon such a charity is vital in reaching accidents in an optimal response time.

We’re honoured to be able to recognise Caroline’s strength and warm personality and proud to call her our Most Deserving Local Hero.


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