BEST VOLUNTEER: Annette Charles is nominated for Romanian work

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A WIFE and mother who spent her honeymoon helping poverty-stricken families in Romania has been nominated for Best Volunteer in the Herald/Gazette Community Stars Awards.

Annette Charles, 46, of Bramley Road, Worthing, is an active volunteer for the Smiles Foundation, a charity set up to aid Romanian families and orphans living in extreme poverty.

Annette has been working with the charity for almost four years, and has visited the country four times, including using her honeymoon as an opportunity to take a 38-hour drive with a van full of supplies to the country, accompanied by new husband Darren.

Annette got involved with the charity through missionary work at her church, Hosanna, in Broadwater.

She said: “When you see how these people live and how little they have, you just want to do everything you can to help them. I was really moved the first time I went out there.

“For me, spending my honeymoon helping the Smiles Foundation was the best trip I could have asked for.”

As well as co-ordinating Smiles Foundation fund-raising events for the whole of the south east of England, Annette also dedicates her days off in the week to helping at Buddy’s, Worthing’s Mencap café and information centre on South Farm Road. She has also taken part in fund-raising for the charity, including jumping off Arun Bridge in a tu-tu despite being terrified of heights.

Annette’s daughter Chloe Hoskins, 11, nominated her mum for the award. Chloe, who attends Broadwater First and Middle School, said her mum is one of the most spectacular people anyone could ever meet.

“Mum is always doing something to help somebody,” she said. “She stands in the pouring rain and the freezing cold to raise money for Mencap, and she always helps anyone she can, it’s never a problem”

Chloe added: “Once, we were out having coffee with mum’s friend and there was a man there who was very ill, and mum stopped and helped him. She’s always so positive, never negative about anything, she makes you believe anything can be done.

“She’s such a great person and the best mum I could ask for.”