A TOWN treasure has been recognised with County Durham’s highest civic award.

At 102-years-old, Carmel Connolly is the oldest volunteer in Spennymoor and her decades of charity work were acknowledged with a chairman’s medal.

The award was presented to Mrs Connolly by the vice chairman of Durham County Council, Coun John Robinson and his consort Maxine Robinson.

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Mrs Connolly was nominated by Spennymoor Town Council for her outstanding and diligent charitable work.

More than half a century ago after she attended a military parade in London for Armistice Day and decided to start selling poppies for the Royal British Legion.

And over the last 53 years she has sold more than a million poppies and raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

Mrs Connolly joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1940 and served as a cook at air bases around the country during the Second World War.

During her wartime service she survived several German bombing raids including while posted to RAF Ventnor radar station, on the Isle of Wright.

She left the military in 1945 and went on to work for the Post Office after the war until she retired in 1981.

Coun Robinson said: “Your charitable work with the Royal British Legion has become legendary.

“When the chairman’s medal was launched, it was done so with the likes of yourself in mind and it is an absolute delight to make this award to you.”