According to both her family and work colleagues Ana Robson has grown in confidence, is full of enthusiasm, loves being outside, loves gardening and seems to have found her niche.

Ana, 26, is the adopted daughter of the Rev. Canon Pat Robson MBE, now retired, but formerly priest in charge of St Goran with Caerhays, and an Honorary Canon Emeritus of Truro Cathedral.

In January she joined the volunteer team that helps to maintain Trewithen's award-winning gardens near Truro. She started by working just one day a week but enjoyed it so much she increased her working days firstly to two and then to three days a week.

Trewithen's Head Gardener, Gary Long, said: "Ana was so shy when she first came I was concerned it wouldn't work out but in just a few weeks she's blossomed and fits in really well with the Trewithen team. She's as good as gold, full of confidence, enthusiasm, has a great sense of humour and is starting to chat more. She works so hard we have to tell her to stop at the end of the day."

Canon Robson met Ana in 1991 as she set up the White Cross Mission, a charity dedicated to helping the children that were locked away in the orphanages established in Romania during the era disgraced president Nicolae Ceausescu was controlling the country. Most of the children she found were severely traumatised and mentally damaged by their treatment.

Ana was six when they first met. Her living conditions were so appalling she didn't speak at all until she was seven although she does now speak some English and Romanian. Those early years have shaped Ana's life and left her with a permanent communication problem. Even though she was perfectly capable of working and wanted to work, finding a job was impossible until she was given the opportunity of volunteering at Trewithen.

"To be given the chance of working in the gardens has made such a difference, it's amazing and Gary and the team are so good with her," said Canon Robson. "Ana is much more content and really feels she's doing something worthwhile, contributing. I'm so grateful it has worked out well and has made Ana so happy."

Full details of the White Cross Mission can be found on the charity's website . For more information about Trewithen, visit .