FOUR-time Olympic medal winner Rebecca Adlington and a Ryedale charity have picked up national awards for their work supporting people affected by a devastating brain condition.

The double gold medallist was highly-commended for her work as an ambassador of the Malton-based Encephalitis Society, which also won Communications Campaign of the Year for World Encephalitis Day 2019 at the Third Sector Awards in London.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society, said: “This was a very special night for everyone involved with the Encephalitis Society.

“Becky has been a passionate supporter of our work for over 10 years now and knows first-hand the devastation that this neurological condition can have on families.

“She has also been a key player in helping us to grow World Encephalitis Day, our campaign which seeks to raise awareness of brain inflammation.

“I am very proud that all our hard work has been recognised in the Third Sector Awards and we hope that the people of Ryedale are equally as proud that a charity which is based locally is having such success on a national and international stage.”

The Encephalitis Society, which has its headquarters in Castlegate, first held World Encephalitis Day on February 22, 2014, and has overseen the growth of the campaign which reached nearly 50 million people globally earlier this year.

The driving force behind World Encephalitis Day is to raise awareness of the condition, an inflammation of the brain, which affects 6,000 people in the UK each year.

Rebecca, whose sister, Laura, was affected by this condition, said: “The work that the Encephalitis Society does is so important. I have been fortunate to meet many people whose lives have been changed by encephalitis and I am delighted to support them and the Encephalitis Society in any way I can.”