A DENTAL nurse has been awarded the highest award in Girlguiding after taking on a number of personal challenges.

Zoe Wright, from Bicester, has spent years volunteering for local charities and organisations and now has been rewarded for her commitment with the Queen’s Guide Award.

The 27-year-old was presented with her award at the House of Commons last Saturday by adventurer Sally Kettle – who was the first woman to row the Atlantic Ocean twice from east to west – and Girlguiding interim chairwoman Val Elliott.

Fewer than 150 people are presented the award each year and Ms Wright secured it through work with The Gatehouse homeless shelter in Oxford, volunteering at a Brownie camp and much more.

She said: “I think the achievement I am most proud of is my volunteer work with the homeless shelter.

“I have been there for around six-and-a-half years now and have gone from being a volunteer to being a co-ordinator, meaning I am in charge of a small team.

“I have made many friends at the Gatehouse and by helping out the local homeless and vulnerable people of Oxford I feel I am giving back to the community and helping out in a small way.

“Being part of a volunteering community is very special.”

To be given the award Zoe took on a series of personal challenges in areas such as social action, voluntary work and travel.

All challenges must be completed by the time the nominee turns 26.

Ms Wright, who is a leader at 9th Bicester Brownies, managed to complete her challenges in three years.

Ms Elliott said: “It was an honour to present these inspirational young women with their awards and a privilege to hear about the challenges they took on and the projects they completed.

"By attaining the Queen’s Guide Award they have shown what can be achieved through dedication and hard work. Congratulations to them all."

For more details on Girlguiding see girlguiding.org.uk