A selfless, third-year university student will receive a medal from the Queen after being recognised for her years of tireless voluntary work.

Courtney-Lee Collins, who lives in Aveley and is a law student at Anglia Ruskin University, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her continued work for a variety of charitable groups and organisations.

The 21-year-old has raised substantial amounts of money for charities including Follow Your Dreams, Essex Air Ambulance, the Salvation Army, Clic Sargent, Abbie’s Army, Treetops School and Endometriosis UK.

She has donated more than three and a half tonnes of food to Thurrock food bank and donated hundreds of items to hospitals, care homes and charities in the area.

Courtney-Lee has been volunteering with her family from a young age. Having an autistic younger sister spurred her on to work with and help people with learning disabilities.

Courtney-Lee said: “I have been fundraising and volunteering with my family from a young age.

“It started from helping to set up tables at charity nights and eventually I started organising events myself.

“The cause that has had the biggest impact on my life personally is helping people with special needs and learning difficulties.

“My younger sister is severely autistic and completely non-verbal and is the sunshine of my life.

“I have never met a happier person and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have someone I’m so close to and can learn so much from.”

Courtney-Lee is an ambassador for Follow Your Dreams, a charity for children and young people with special needs and learning difficulties.

She’s also a regular donor to Changing Pathways, a women’s refuge charity.

Last year she started her own campaign, 7 Heroes in 7 Days, where she would take a selection of treats to organisations like the emergency services.

While Courtney-Lee has been unable to receive her medal yet due to the pandemic, she can’t wait for the day she gets it.

She said: “I am very excited for the day I can hold it in my hands and actually have it with me.

“It is a huge honour to be recognised in this way.

“I don’t do what I do for the recognition, but I am so proud.”