A volunteer who “always wears a smile on her face” has been celebrated for her work helping a charity supporting those facing pregnancy-related challenges.

Liz Gray was nominated for the Watford Observer Community Heroes Award by Angela Such, chief executive officer for Alternatives Watford Pregnancy Crisis & Support Centre.

Mrs Gray, who has lived in Croxley Green for over 40 years, works in the charity’s Mother & Baby shop on a weekly basis where she helps to price and sell stock and serve customers.

The community hero initiative she has been recommended for, gives people an opportunity to nominate individuals worthy of recognition and praise for their selflessness and charitable acts. This newspaper then works with Watford businesses such as Vue to reward them.

Alternatives chief executive, Angela Such said of Mrs Gray: “Liz has been with us for six years serving the community as a volunteer in our shop.

“She is helpful and welcoming to all our customers and a great member of our team, always ready to welcome new volunteers and help them settle in. Liz offers support and encouragement to me as the manager and to the rest of our staff. She comes in every week and always wears a smile.

“Outside of her volunteering, she is always chatting to people about the work we do, the services we offer and the ways they can support us. Liz always attends our fundraising events and when it was her birthday a couple of years ago, she asked for donations to go towards Alternatives rather than gifts for herself.

“She is always interested in the work we are doing and how she can help and is a real hero of the community in our eyes. We would love to see her recognised - she will be very surprised.”

Speaking about her nomination, Mrs Gray said: “I am overwhelmed, it’s always nice to be recognised.”

Prior to volunteering, Mrs Gray spent much of her life working for the NHS. She spent 16 years working as a secretary at a children’s centre in Watford close to the Peace Hospice.

She moved to Croxley Green 45 years ago after marrying her husband, John. She grew up in London.

Mrs Gray said she trained to become a secretary at school before leaving at 15-years-old to start working at a post office, and later the NHS.

Speaking about her career in healthcare, she said: “I do enjoy helping people and do quite a lot of people-oriented work at my church. It’s part of my life and what I want to do.”

Mrs Gray has two sons, Kevin and David and two grandchildren.

When asked why she likes volunteering at Alternatives, she said: “It’s a lovely team and Angela creates a very friendly atmosphere – it’s a great place to be.”