A CO-FOUNDER of the charity Beach Wheelchairs has been recognised by the Prime Minister as she receives a prestigious award.

Alison Brown, from Tranent, is the latest recipient of the Points of Light Award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Alison’s charity Beach Wheelchairs provides beach-accessible wheelchairs free of charge, helping nearly 500 people to access the coastline over the past four years.

She was inspired to set up the charity with her North Berwick friend Jackie Tagg as her son – as well as both Jackie’s brother and mum – could not access their local beach due to disabilities.

Unlike standard wheelchairs, their beach wheelchairs have large rubber wheels that can move easily over the sand, allowing children and adults with disabilities to enjoy their time on the coast.

The charity now has centres in North Berwick, Seton Sands and Portobello.

Alison will be presented with her award tomorrow (Friday) by East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield, who said: “I am delighted that Alison is receiving this recognition for her outstanding work to establish and run the pioneering Beach Wheelchairs.

“It’s a wonderful local charity and Alison fully deserves this very special award for her dedication to making it such a huge success.”

Alison said: “I am really delighted to be given this award for recognition of the work of Beach Wheelchairs.

“Beach Wheelchairs is a charity run primarily by volunteers – volunteers dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to get onto the sand at the beach, through free rental of specialist wheelchairs.

“Since we started operating four years ago, we’ve helped hundreds of people to enjoy time on the beach with friends, family, classmates and loved ones.

“Sometimes this is the first time people have experienced the pleasure of being right down next to the sea.

“Getting onto the beach is one of life’s great, simple pleasures and can bring such joy to both the wheelchair user and their carers.

“We are a source of pride in the communities that we work in – enabling them to become welcoming and inclusive.

“Beach Wheelchairs is a massive team effort. Without the countless hours put in behind the scenes and in the day-to-day operations, this project wouldn’t be the massive success it is.

“This award recognises the work of everyone in the team.”

Alison is the 1,231st winner of the Points of Light Award in the UK, a programme which was initially set up in the USA under President George HW Bush in 1990.

In a personal letter to Alison, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May said: “With the Beach Wheelchairs project you are making your local beaches accessible to all, enabling disabled children and adults to enjoy the beautiful Scottish coastline.”