A CHARITY which helps people who have been affected by a devastating brain condition has won a prestigious national award for its life-saving work.

The Encephalitis Society, which is based in Castlegate, Malton, was crowned Charity of the Year - with an income of less than £1 million, in the Charity Times Awards at an awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Hotel, London, last week.

The team, led by chief executive Dr Ava Easton, were joined at the ceremony by charity ambassador Rebecca Adlington, the two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer who was recently seen on BBC One’s Celebrity Masterchef.

Dr Easton said: “We are thrilled to have taken home this wonderful award from the Charity Times Awards, which are truly the ‘Oscars’ of the charity world. Encephalitis is a devastating but little known condition that can ruin lives and destroy families.

“We are proud to be the global encephalitis experts and this recognition by the Charity Times means the world to our passionate team who go the extra mile to help people affected every day.

“We are grateful for the backing of our supporters, especially our ambassador Rebecca Adlington who has championed our work for several years, and our friends at Bolt Burdon Kemp and Clarke Willmott whose generous donations enabled us to attend the ceremony itself.”

The Charity Times Awards are the pre-eminent celebration of best practice in the UK Charity and not-for-profit sector.

Now in their 18th year, the awards are run by Charity Times Magazine, the leading title for UK non-profit professionals.

Rebecca Adlington said: “I am extremely proud to be an ambassador with the Encephalitis Society and to champion their work across the world.

“To have been there on such a fantastic night and to see them rewarded for their efforts over the past 12 months was extremely special for me and my family.”