THIS Christmas a Teignmouth amateur photographer is transforming pixels into presents to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Behind the lens is Claire Twitchin, a Teaching Assistant at Gatehouse Primary School.

Outside of her professional life and the occasional extraordinary challenge, like swimming the English Channel, Claire’s passion is photography.

‘I started taking photos in Lockdown,’ Claire explained, ‘I would walk my dog Eddie every sunrise before he passed away.

‘Every morning I started taking photographs of the sunrise and posting them on Facebook for people that couldn’t venture out.’

Recognising the positive impact of Claire’s photos, a friend suggested turning them into a fundraising initiative for the NHS.

Claire, who was awarded the MBE in 2021 for her work during the pandemic, said: ‘I joined forces with a local group of women called the Sewing Scrub Army.

‘I provided the fabric for them to make the scrubs for the nurses and doctors at local hospitals and surgeries.’

That work earned her a Medal of the British Empire (MBE), presented by the then-Prince Charles.

Claire said: ‘Charles was interested to know about the scrubs and everything as well as where I’m from. I think he’s quite fond of our local area, given all his connections to the Westcountry. He was a nice person to speak to and it was a real honour to receive the award.

Now spurred on by her two new dogs, Merlin and Dodger, Claire’s calendars have continued, raising money for the RNLI and a water safety education charity known as Above Water.

This year, her calendar is in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for people affected by motor neurone disease in the UK.

Claire added: ‘I think the charity’s amazing and it’s just such an important cause.

‘Each picture is linked to each month more or less and I have kept it quite local this year so they’re pretty much all from around Teignbridge. I hope it shows lucky we are to live where we live.’

Claire’s calendars are available priced at £12 from The Healthy Pet Shop in Teignmouth.