A Penrith community hero has been awarded an honour by Her Majesty The Queen.

As part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, Helen Storey, the founder of charity Triple A has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Cumbria.

In early 2016, Helen set up Triple A under the Cumbria Reducing Offending Partnership Trust umbrella to provide guidance and support for those affected by autism.

Within 12 months, Triple A had gained charitable status. From there she has led Triple A from strength to strength, gaining the admiration and support of the National Autistic Society as well as the endorsement of Police, Probation, NHS and local government services across Cumbria.

The programmes she has devised and implemented include a one-on-one mentoring service for people on the autistic spectrum who have either already committed criminal offence(s) or who are deemed to be at risk of doing so.

Helen spoke of her delight at being offered the honour and reveals that she was first contacted by email before speaking further with the Cabinet Office.

She stated: "It was an honour to accept it. It was a complete surprise and I didn't have a clue until only weeks ago.

I got an email asking if I would be happy to accept it and was honoured to.

In a momentous year for her family, she described the awarding of the honour as "the best possible birthday present" to her mother, who turned 80 this month.

She dedicated the honour to everyone she has worked with over the past 30 years.

"There are so many people doing such great work out there and I want to accept this on behalf of everybody and use it to make a difference going forward."