CHIPPING Sodbury’s own super mum has been named the South West and Wales regional winner of the Halifax Giving Extra awards.

Sophie Axford was last week revealed as one of 66 finalists in the region and received £300 in prize money which she immediately handed over to the Special Friends Club, a support group for children with disabilities and learning difficulties, which she helps run.

Now Sophie, who got involved with the club 10 years ago for help with son Billie, who has autism and severe learning difficulties, has been unveiled as the region’s winner and will receive £5,000 for the group.

She was told live on Heart FM that she had won and said: “I'm stunned.

“We'll be able to do loads more specific activities that would normally be out of our price range. It will just be amazing, oh my goodness.

“I'm just really gobsmacked, that’s brilliant. Thank you so much.”

Sophie, 45, who lives in Woodman Close with husband Marcus and their other two sons Archie, 14, and Reuben, 9, also fosters 18-year-old Matthew Hale who also has learning difficulties.

She is a trustee and activities co-ordinator of the club, which helps around 150 families across South Gloucestershire and Bristol.

“I feel very passionately about the club, it was a lifeline to us and without it we would have been quite isolated,” Sophie told the Gazette.

“Having a child with a disability means it can be really hard to go to places which regular children take for granted,” she said.

“They can make different noises or have arms flailing and it can draw attention which can sometimes be quite negative. That is why I book sole use sessions for the club so everyone can relax, including the children.

“We do things they would not normally be able to access like the cinema, trampolining and swimming.

“As well as the activities, it is about the support network for the whole family. If someone is having a bad day or a difficulty we can all relate to that because we have been through it.”

Sophie, a carer in an elderly people’s home, is also a member of Bristol Samba Band, helps organise the Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch and numerous other community events.

The Halifax Giving Extra Awards panel was impressed with how much Sophie does for the Chipping Sodbury community.

Russell Galley, group director for Halifax Community Bank, said: “Halifax is committed to bringing communities closer together to help them thrive, and we are able to further deliver upon this commitment through people like Sophie.

“She plays a pivotal role within her community making a positive difference for local people. We’re proud that Sophie is one of our Halifax Giving Extra Award winners.”

The £5,000 donation will go towards providing more activities for the children to enjoy, such as special trips to the cinema, theme parks and swimming centres.