A mum who has worked tirelessly to improve the conditions at the Whitehaven Academy was among the winners at the West Cumbria Community Heroes Awards.

Julie Rayson, of the Whitehaven Academy Action Group was named Copeland's Woman of the Year at the awards ceremony.

She is well known in the community for her work to improve conditions at the troubled school.

She said: "It's obviously nice to be recognised and acknowledged. We weren't sure if we would be seen as trouble makers but we've always had the children's interests at heart.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. We've had support up and down the country and I just need to thank everyone for their support.

"I'd also like to thank Trudy Harrison, who has been absolutely brilliant and has backed our campaign from the start."

The awards are organised by The Whitehaven News and the Times & Star, in association with Sellafield, and Copeland and Allerdale councils.

Cumbria Education Trust has been announced as the new sponsor of the school, following the shock resignation of headteacher, Warren Turner.

But Mrs Rayson, who also represents Hillcrest on Whitehaven Town Council, has stressed that history must not repeat itself.

She said: "We cannot go through this again.We need to make sure going forward things aren't repeated. We can't ignore Warren Turner is no longer in post. We want to engage with CET. We need engagement from them - the community still has questions."

The Copeland Person of the Year Award was presented by Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie.

Speaking on the night, Mr Starkie said: “You wouldn’t believe the lengths this person had to go to, to uncover the truth.”

After Mrs Rayson was revealed as the winner, she said: "I have done a lot of work, but it’s not just been me, it has been a lot of people behind me doing this.

“I thought there’s absolutely no way that the award is for me, there’s people far more worthy than me, people that have raised money.

"Sometimes it’s not about making money it’s about saving money and if we can save the school money by what we’ve done by our investigations then that’s brilliant.”