A Thanet man has been named as the national winner of the NSPCC’s Outstanding Achievement of the Year award.
Matthew Bennett, 39, has taken on two extreme challenge events in the past two years for the NSPCC, along with friends and colleagues, raising over £160,000.
Matthew’s record breaking challenges have seen him trekking across the Gobi desert, and with his Team Essence colleagues they became the first group to row the Atlantic Ocean east to west from mainland Europe to mainland South America – an achievement recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Matthew, who is the owner of Acorn children’s homes on the isle, said: “I was honoured to receive such a prestigious award. There are many unsung heroes working with vulnerable children. The children themselves are trying to find a meaningful childhood and a brighter future. I accepted this award on their behalf and it’s beyond doubt my proudest moment since supporting the NSPCC.
“My experience working with vulnerable children gave me an insight into the work of children’s charities. I decided after much research to support the invaluable work carried out by the NSPCC.
“My expeditions are all about raising money for this cause and as a Patron of the NSPCC I will continue for as long as I am able!”
The awards, which launched in 2016 and run every two years, recognise the valuable contribution of the NSPCC’s outstanding volunteers and celebrate those who go the extra mile.
Winners from across the UK were announced at a ceremony at Banking Hall, London and each received a certificate signed by HRH The Countess Of Wessex, the NSPCC’s patron.
There were also presentations by Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC; Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder of ChildLine and Trustee; and Mark Wood, Chairman of the NSPCC.
Liane Smith, Head of Volunteering at the NSPCC, said: “We have around 11,000 volunteers across the NSPCC – incredible people who are committed to sharing their passion, skills and time.
“Without all of our amazing volunteers we simply wouldn’t be able to achieve what we do for children and we’re thankful for what each and every single one of them is able to give.”
There are many ways to support the work of the NSPCC, such as volunteering to help teach children about the signs of abuse through the Speak Out Stay Safe service, volunteering for Childline or taking part in an NSPCC event.
To find out more about what you can do, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do