The founder of a charity which gives donated second-hand shoes to children in need said it has seen a “huge surge in demand” amid the cost-of-living crisis, as she was made an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Camilla ‘CJ’ Bowry, 43, founder and chief executive at Sal’s Shoes, which redistributes footwear to children all over the world whose parents cannot afford it, has been honoured for services to young people, education and the environment.

Over the past decade, the charity says it has “found new feet for over five million pairs of Sal’s Shoes in 61 countries around the world, including increasingly here in the UK”.

Ms Bowry, of Oxted, Surrey, told the PA news agency: “Children tend to outgrow their shoes before they outwear them and children’s shoes are expensive but also actually quite difficult to recycle because of all the different components they’re made up of and just over 10 years ago, having accumulated a bag full of my son Sal’s outgrown shoes, and unable to find a charity that could tell me where exactly they would end up if I donated them, I founded Sal’s Shoes.

“I think there are an estimated 300 million children around the world for whom walking with shoes is a rarity.

Feet in shoes are protected feet, feet protected from injury and infection.

“We have always worked in the UK on a much smaller scale to begin with, for a variety of reasons, but over the last few years we have seen a huge surge in demand, so we have distributed over 180,000 pairs of children’s shoes nationwide just this year.

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“It’s a cost-of-living crisis, people are worried about feeding their families and heating their homes and winter coats and school shoes.”

Sal’s Shoes is able to track every pair of shoes it supplies and let the previous owner know where they end up.

On being made an OBE, she said: “I think as someone working in the charity sector any acknowledgment is quite uncomfortable when really all we’re able to achieve is down to the less fortunate position of others. That said, I think it validates our work and is one for the whole team.”

Ms Bowry said her family will only learn she has been honoured when the list is published.

“I’ve risen to the challenge and seen it as a personal challenge and I’ve been the best secret keeper ever, in fact I forgot I knew the secret,” she said.

“I don’t think they’ll believe it, I think it will be lovely for my mum and dad, I’m quite excited for them to know about it.”