THE call has gone out for a light to be shone on the town's unsung heroes as The Pride of Swindon Awards return for their 10th anniversary.

The awards recognise volunteers who have given their time selflessly for years, as well as people who have displayed remarkable courage, those who have helped reduce crime in the town and those who have given unselfish service to sports clubs.

Extra-special neighbours and exemplary young people who have set an example to others in their community could also be considered for an award as well as inspiring teachers or health care professionals who have gone the extra mile.

Launching the awards, the Mayor of Swindon Maureen Penny said: "There are a great many individuals and charities in Swindon run by volunteers who give their time freely to help others not so fortunate. The Pride of Swindon Awards allow the work that these wonderful people are involved in to be recognised and celebrated. Long may it continue."

The awards are backed by Zurich Community Trust, Swindon Borough Council, the Swindon Advertiser, Swindon 105.5, Excalibur, Positive Media Group, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Wiltshire Police, Volunteer Centre Swindon, Voluntary Action Swindon, Nationwide, Intel and McDonald's.

During a special launch ceremony held on Friday in the Mayor's Parlour at the Civic Offices, guests heard from winners who had been honoured during the 2017 awards held earlier this year.

Among them was Robert Le Kyng Primary School pupil Oscar Moulding who raised funds to send the wheelchair he had outgrown to Bosnia for his friend Sophija, who - like him – lives with muscular dystrophy. Oscar’s mum Alexandra said the delivery of the chair on Oscar’s birthday on New Year’s Eve felt like fate - and a day the family will cherish for a long time.

Also at the launch - fresh from a month of inspiring people in Swindon and beyond to get out and get active - was Runvember champion Alan Butler. He said: "This year was our fifth year, and we had 463 people sign up - there was one in New Zealand, two in Australia and one in Tokyo. Runvember is the chance to give something back.

"We did our final run last night, and we had 60 people running through the town with Christmas lights, and Chas and Dave on a speaker.

"Winning the award really got the message out there even more - the awareness this year was ten-fold on last year."

The former divisional commander of Swindon’s firefighters John Popowicz also made a return after being named as a Pride of Swindon winner after putting in more than three decades-worth of service until his retirement in 2015. As well his years of public service he used his fundraising skills to buy a number of outdoor table tennis tables in memory of son Sean who died in 2015 at the age of 35.

He urged people to get their nominations in for the 2018 awards: "The people who receive these awards are usually people who don't think that they're doing anything special, and just get on and do it. If you are thinking about nominating someone, don't think - just put them forward."

People have until Friday, January 26, 2018 in order to submit their nominations by visiting