VOLUNTEER: A resident who goes out of his or her way to provide a crucial community service in a voluntary capacity.

THREE people have been picked from scores of nominations in the Volunteer category for this year’s Community Stars Awards.

The Volunteer award recognises members of the community who go above and beyond in giving up their own time to improve the lives of others.

The winner of the award will be announced at the awards night at the Midland Hotel on Wednesday, December 6, and will receive the Bradford Medal.

Voting is open until Friday, November 27, and it is up to you the readers to decide who you think is most deserving of the honour.

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Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The three nominees for the award are Clare Mason, Jimmy King, and Ayham Alkhatib.

Mrs Mason, 47, from Odsal was nominated for her work with the charity Pathway Breaks, which arranged holidays each year for people who suffer from early onset dementia and their families.

Sharon Carmichael, who nominated Ms Mason, said: “Clare is devoted to raising awareness of young onset dementia.

“Having a husband who has young onset dementia, she has been our guardian angel giving love and support.

“I find it very hard to put into words my respect for Clare and the volunteering work that she does. She is remarkable, dedicated, devoted and a fountain of knowledge.”

On her nomination, Mrs Mason said: “It is fabulous, I am quite surprised but it’s a pleasant surprise.

“Pathway Breaks is really important for families as other services are stretched.

“One of the vital things Pathways does is offer peer support, giving people someone to talk to who is in the same situation.

“My father has vascular memory problems and had his first stroke at 26, so I have insight into supporting someone in that situation, and have working with dementia all my life.”

Jimmy King has been shortlisted for his work as a peer mentor working with someone with mental health issues.

In nominating Mr King, Esther Holroyd said: “Jimmy has what I like to call the three C’s: committed, caring and conscientious, all the qualities you would want in a volunteer.

“He is a great role model and gives encouragement to others. What’s even more impressive about Jimmy is the fact that just a few months ago, he was suffering from his own issues of anxiety and depression.

“He found it difficult to do many of the things most people take for granted, and has made amazing progress and is an inspiration to others.”

Mr King, 53, from Wyke, said to be nominated was “quite a shock”.

He said: “It’s important to volunteer and help others in any way they can.

“If you suffer with mental health problems, once you realise you should definitely seek help, and it is getting easier now as more people are talking about it.

“To win would be a big achievement when I have suffered from mental health issues and to go from that to winning an award would be a big shock.”

The last, but by no means least, nominee is Ayham Alkhatib, who has only been living in Bradford for two years after arriving as an asylum seeker from Syria.

He volunteers with the Refugee Action up to five days a week, and also volunteers for the British Red Cross as an interpreter.

Ruth Gray, from Refugee Action, said Mr Alkatib will always go “the extra mile” to help others.

She said: “In May, Ayham went to our head office in London for a week to volunteer there, helping in the finance department as he had a background in finance before the war.

“He does not give up, and will go the extra mile to support our clients and those of the other organisations he volunteers at.

“He has always gone on to serve others, even in the most stressful time for him.

Mr Alkhatib, 35, said: “I was quite surprised when Ruth told me she had nominated me for the award, I did not expect it.

“I started volunteering because I had lots of free time. Refugee Action is a great organisation, and may of the people it helps are vulnerable and need support.

“It would mean a lot to me to win the award, and I am excited about the awards night.”