Amy Wilkins, Secretary of the British Science Association's Lewes Branch, has won the Sir Walter Bodmer Award for Volunteering. The Award is presented annually to volunteers who have gone the extra mile and made outstanding contributions to the BSA’s vision.

Amy received the Award in recognition of the invaluable contribution she's made to engaging local residents, particularly through the Lewes STEM Festival and her role as Secretary of the Branch.

Amy Wilkins with her family

She's been involved with the BSA since the formation of the Lewes Branch last year. As a parent living in the area, she felt that, while there were many art events for families to take part in, there weren’t many opportunities for them to engage with science. Along with others, she helped set up the Lewes STEM Festival, which has grown from 600 visitors in its first year to 800 in its second.

Attendees took part in 12 different activities, ranging from an inflatable planetarium show to handling reptiles, amphibians and arachnids. Amy organised most of this whilst either heavily pregnant or with a young baby in tow. At the festival, Amy ran activities showing that science was something they could take part in at home with limited, everyday items.

While she has no formal training in science, it's something she's always had an interest in and is particularly keen to pass this enthusiasm onto young people, whilst supporting the BSA's vision of making science a more fundamental part of society.

On receiving the Award, Amy said: "I'm really honoured to have won. It's rewarding to see the effort that is put in behind the scenes by so many volunteers receive recognition. Seeing young families doing science, seeing how everyday life can be effected by it and being inspired by STEM makes me very proud."

Notable runners up for the 2017 Award are Rachel Harris and Robbie Kornitschky of the Bristol & Bath Branch for their involvement in the Bristol Science Film Festival. They have been the driving force behind the successful event, which continues to grow year on year, with the most recent festival encompassing four separate events across the city.

The Sir Walter Bodmer Award is named to honour the geneticist and former President of the BSA, who was instrumental in highlighting the importance of programmes that enhance the public understanding of science during the late 1980s and early 1990s.