An inspirational woman of the year nominee will help orphaned children in Romania this Christmas.

In 2013, Sutton insurance broker, Alison Standbrige, became “horrified” after travelling to Romania where she witnessed harrowing dog cruelty.

She was inspired to set up the Paws2Rescue charity after the "life changing" visit.

“I had to do something,” she explained to Sutton Guardian. “I couldn’t just carry on.

“There was extreme abuse. We found dogs that had their feet cut off, their eyes poked out and people had broken legs of dogs for no reason or tried to drown them."

Alison, who lives near Sutton Common Road, uses her charity to support dog shelters in Romania with food, bedding and money donations for education, veterinary and neutering programmes.

Every Christmas and Easter, Paws2Rescue pledges assistance to Romanian orphaned children through what Alison described as a “bleak and terrifying” festive period.

She said: “Historically, life for orphans in Romania has been horrific. But even today the stories we hear as we talk to locals totally destroys us. Many of the children arrive at the orphanages like the abused dogs in the public shelters.

“They’re scared, they shy away, they don’t know how to talk and they cannot be touched. It is the daily love of our amazing carers and desperately hard work to try to make these children normal.

“We can’t become a children’s charity but the least we can do is make Christmas and Easter a little easier.”

Tv personality Ricky Gervais is one of Paws2Rescues most recognised supporters.

The Office star has raised awareness for the charity through donations and social media mentions.

Alison said: “He has millions of followers and it shows we are serious. We are doing some really big work and it is great to have Ricky’s support behind us.”

On the first week of December a lorry will depart Sutton to venture to Romania where shoeboxes will be presented to orphaned children and rescued dogs.

A shoebox filled with Christmas gifts - labelled boy, girl, neutral or dog - can be sent to Paws2Rescue, 12 Kimpton Park Way, Sutton SM3 9QS before the presents are transported to Romania.

Paws2Rescue has arranged the adoption of over 1,500 dogs from Romania to the UK since 2013.