Prime Minister rewards region's best

A DIY scheme and an Olympics volunteer from the North-East were among those rewarded for their contribution to society by the Prime Minister.

Geoff Howell, from Spennymoor, County Durham, was one of 13 London 2012 volunteers to attend Downing Street this week to pick up the 50th Big Society Award on behalf of games makers and ambassadors.

David Cameron said: “This summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games showed us that with belief and determination this country can achieve great things.

“Of all the great moments this summer, from the amazing athletes to the magical ceremonies, the standing ovation in the Olympic Stadium for the volunteers stands out.

“Tens of thousands of people gave their time and their passion and without them this great British summer would not have been possible.”

Mr Howell, speaking at the awards reception on Wednesday, said: “I was very proud to win the Big Society Award, it’s fantastic that all the volunteers for the Olympics and Paralympics have got this recognition.

“It was lovely to be able to come here and receive it on behalf of my colleagues.

“People talk about the Big Society, it can’t get much bigger than the whole of the UK and that’s what we encompass.

“Volunteering made the Games such a success and it was great to be a part of that."

The Volunteer It Yourself initiative, which started in London, has extended its work combining volunteering and DIY to location across the country.

One area it now works in is Stockton, where 14 to 17-year-olds learn building and construction skills on the job by fix local youth club buildings in need of essential repairs. The project also picked up a Big Society Award.

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