A SELFLESS teenager has been recognised for her volunteering efforts in collecting donations for a food bank.

Bedford High School pupil Abi Holdsworth, 13, from Leigh, spends hours of her spare time with her mum Lisa in supermarkets in the town helping to collect supplies for Atherton and Leigh Foodbank.

Abi has also recently organised a collection at her school in which a shopping trolley's worth of tins was filled and donated to the food bank.

Last week she was presented with a special certificate from Atherton and Leigh Foodbank manager Warren Done at the Manchester Road school to thank her for her hard work.

Abi said: “I started helping out with different charities when I was in primary school.

"I just wanted to do anything I could to support them.

"It is really important because there are a lot of people in our local community that need help.

"If we all did a little bit it would make life so much easier for them.

“I am part of the future generation and if we start volunteering and helping now it sets an example to everyone.

“It will also encourage other young people to get involved and help out.

“When I first started collecting for the foodbank I was only supposed to do a couple of hours.

“But I did not want to leave, I loved it so much.

"I would really like to work for a charity such as the food bank in the future.”

Abi has organised shoebox collections, taken part in sponsored runs and been covered in paint to raise money for charity too.

The food bank has just had its busiest week ever in its five year history with more than 150 people and families going into its different centres across the borough in need of help.

Manager Warren Done added: “We rely completely on donations from members of the public, local businesses and organisations.

“We also depend on our volunteer helpers to keep the operation moving which is why people like Abi are so important.

"It is safe to say she has made a big difference to the lives of many people in her local community and she should be really proud of her achievements.”

Bedford High School head teacher Helen Phillips has praised Abi’s commitment and dedication in her charity work.

Mrs Phillips said: “We are all extremely proud of Abi’s achievements

"She is a wonderful ambassador for our school and her local community.

“This time of year is all about sharing and giving and we are pleased to say Abi really does embody the Christmas spirit.”

For more information about the food bank visit athertonleigh.foodbank.org.uk.