A 62-year-old woman in Bexleyheath has been named Neighbour of the Year 2020 by Neighbourhood Watch Group.

Hilary Haslam, a local resident living in Bexley, has been described as a "pillar of the community" for her efforts looking out for neighbours during lockdown, being careful to be safe, make sure everyone's sorted, and even organising get togthers.

, as well as being the first one out for a celebration or for 'Clap the Carers'.

She made a name for herself in lockdown after she looked after a number of her neighbours, shopping for them, collecting prescriptions and delivering parcels and letters.

But her efforts don't stop there. Hilary also helped out with the Mayor of Bexley's Christmas Tree Light competition, a contest of the best festive lights whilst raising money for charity.

And on VE Day, the 62-year-old made bunting and hung it across the road, setting up a socially-distanced celebration. Neighbours also said she was "always the first one out, hitting away on her tambourines for Clap the Carers."

Hilary's neighbour Emma nominated her for the award described her as "amazing."

"She’s a pillar of the community and is always looking out for her neighbours and always the first to volunteer her help.

"She has been very careful throughout lockdown about staying socially distant, while still offering support to others.

"Hilary was also key in organising VE celebrations for the street, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.”

Hilary's efforts have seen named Neighbour of the Year for the South East in Neighbourhood Watch and Co-op's search for the UK's best neighbours.

The Neighbour of the Year award celebrates neighbours who look out for others, are sociable and friendly, offer practical help and are kind, caring and respectful. In its third year, the number of entries increased by a staggering 100 percent from 2019.

Hilary herself said: "My 89-year-old neighbour is vulnerable, and I was concerned during the lockdown – so I started cooking for her.

"I’m on about 235 meals so far – and counting! I’ve been here for 40 years, and I’ve seen a lot of generations. I always love seeing someone around that I know.

"People don’t move away from here. Most people know me, and anyone can call on me for help.”

Ellis German, Home Insurance Executive at Co-op Insurance said: “We’re so proud of Hilary – she’s an excellent reminder that there are those on our doorsteps who need us more than ever.

"All the judges agreed that she was the worthy winner of the South East Neighbour of the Year 2020 award.”

This year the awards are being backed by actress Catherine Tyldesley, who played Eva Price in Coronation Street, who said: “It’s heartening to see that neighbours like Hilary exist and are being recognised for the great work they’re doing to create communities where everyone feels safe and part of something.”

This year’s winners were announced as new data from Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch warns that the surge in neighbourliness seen in the Spring hasn’t been sustained, as pandemic fatigue sets in across the UK.

During the peak of the first national lockdown in April, data from Co-op showed a spike in neighbourliness, with almost three quarters (74%) of adults in the South East said they knew which of their neighbours was classed as high risk.

Co-op and Neighbourhood Watch are calling on people throughout the UK to reconnect with neighbours this winter to help start building back better in local communities.