Letchworth charity stalwart saluted for going the extra mile with Comet Community Award nomination

Claire Smith

Claire Smith - Credit: Archant

A multi-tasking fitness instructor and charity stalwart has been saluted for her commitment to going the extra mile with Comet Community Awards recognition.

Letchworth-based Leisure Direct – a charity which puts on activities for adults with learning disabilities – has been lucky enough to have Claire Smith in the team since 2005, and her dedication to the role has resulted in a Service to the Community nomination.

She is tasked with organising a huge range of activities from sport sessions, art activities, theatre trips, meals out, discos, social evenings and at least one holiday a year.

Claire, who lives in Letchworth, has also run fitness sessions for all ages for more than 20 years, but now concentrates on giving exercise classes across North Herts and Stevenage for the over 50s.

“I am pleased and flattered at the nomination, but also quite humbled,” Claire said. “Leisure Direct is a fabulous charity and I am very fortunate to be a part of it.

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“The members are very appreciative of the opportunities to socialise, learn skills and to be an integrated part of the local and wider community.

“It gives me great pleasure to see their confidence grow and friendships develop.

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“The work I do is only possible because of the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who are so ready to give up their time, and Sharon Harding who works full time as an administrator.

“My thanks go to the whole team that is Leisure Direct.”

Leisure Direct team members who nominated Claire for the award paid tribute to the 58-year-old with a joint statement on her efforts.

They said: “With the help of a team of volunteers Claire shows considerable patience and understanding in supporting the members to gain confidence in interacting with other people and coping with learning new skills needed for their daily routines.

“She gives up her evenings and sometimes weekends to ensure that the charity continues to grow and work as successfully as it has done so far.

“Too often people today work their allotted hours and no more – Claire’s contribution to all she is involved in is far greater, which is much appreciated by all who have benefitted from her expertise and enthusiasm.”

Finalists chosen by a panel of judges will be invited to a ceremony held in May at the Icknield Centre in Letchworth.

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