EVERYONE knows someone they are proud of and who goes the extra mile to help others behind the scenes — so why not help them step into the limelight for once?

Last week marked the launch of the Pride of Swindon Awards, an annual call by the Mayor of Swindon, currently Coun Mick Bray, to unearth the town’s unsung heroes and celebrate their hard work.

Coun Bray was joined at the Civic Offices by previous winners and dignitaries, including Shirley Ludford, David Wray, of Swindon MS Therapy Centre, Bonny Walsh, of Swindon Limbless Association and Eunice Salmon, of Breakthrough Breast Cancer The awards started in 2008 and have unearthed some of the most deserving volunteers and fundraisers in the town.

Previous winners include Christine Heath, a Samaritan volunteer who helps people on the verge of suicide, Emma Court, a doctor who tackled a gang of youths who were beating up a boy, Clive Hall, a fireman at Swindon Fire Station who does daredevil stunts to raise cash for the fireman’s charity, and Karen Leakey, who took on the issue of prostitution and anti-social behaviour in a bid to clean up her neighbourhood.

Another previous winner, Jenny Stacey, manager of the Open Door Centre which provides a specialist day resource for adults with learning disabilities, said: “To get the award was just stunning, I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t think why I got it because I just love my job.”

This year, the panel of judges is looking for nominations from those who work in the voluntary sector and give up their time and services to help others.

They could be someone who helps a neighbour, a young person who is a role model or a teacher who is an inspiration — in fact, anyone who goes that extra mile.

This year’s awards were presented by radio presenter Shirley Ludford at the Steam Museum in May. They paid tribute to the work of 37 inspirational individuals, who all received certificates for their work, while the winners’ names also get engraved on a plaque in the Central Library.

Coun Bray said: “To be associated with awards is an honour. Nominees demonstrate how volunteers have impressed people in Swindon.

“Demonstrating our support for the award will draw the attention and inspire the younger generation to realise the importance of helping others.”

To nominate someone for an award, complete the form at www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/pride_of_swindon_2013/

And in no more than 250 words, tell us why your are nominating them for an award.

Send your entry to: The Pride Of Swindon Awards, Mayor’s Office, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH or email prideofswindonawards@ swindon.gov.uk by February 1, 2013.