AN 89-YEAR-OLD woman who provided emergency accommodation for domestic violence victims and has dedicated her life to helping others has received a special award from Pope Francis.

Audrey Salmon, of Darfield, was awarded the Benemerenti Medal for her dedicated service to St Helen’s Church in Hoyland, and St Michael’s Church in Wombwell over a number of decades.

The medal is awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy for service to the Catholic church.

Originally established as an award for soldiers in the Papal Army, it is now a civil decoration but may still be awarded to members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

She was presented the medal by Father Declan Brett, her parish priest.

A spokesperson for the Parish of Corpus Christi said: “For many years, she was involved with the Union of Catholic Mothers at the parish, diocesan and national level.

“She provided emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence.

“She founded Wombwell AgeWell and at 89 years of age she still volunteers at the Wombwell Lunch Club.

“She does much more as well.”

Audrey finally decided to retire as the secretary at AgeWell in her 90th year – and a celebration was held to mark the extraordinary work she has done.