National award for Leamington doctor who set up Winter Night Shelter for homeless in town

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A Leamington doctor has received a national award for setting up the town’s Winter Night Shelter for homeless people.

Susan Rutherford, 25, began volunteering with charities while she was training to become a doctor and soon realised that on most nights there was nowhere for the homeless and vulnerable to seek shelter or food.

Despite her young age, she took it upon herself to solve the problem and partnered with a fellow medical student.

Together they brought together students and members of the public to form an unlikely mix of people, but who all shared a common goal.

Dr Rutherford negotiated with Tara and Co Estate Agents in Old Town and transformed the dilapidated former Priors Club in Tower Street into a welcoming place for all and the Leamington Winter Support Night Shelter was formed.

As a result, she was invited to a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on July 6 to receive a British Citizen Award (BCA).

The BCAs were launched in 2015 and are awarded twice annually to recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.

Dr Rutherford said: “I was pretty overwhelmed when I found out about the award to be honest.

“It’s really lovely. It’s very humbling when people show their appreciation like this because it’s not what you do it for.”

Dr Rutherford continues to give up a lot of her spare time to run the shelter and is currently working with a team of doctors dedicated to the health of the homeless.

Ian Christian, of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, who presented Dr Rutherford with her award, said: “Susan’s work has undoubtedly changed countless lives for the better.”