Ref. 25824-23A YOUNG man, who has given up most of his spare time for three years to work as an unpaid volunteer at a primary school, is this year's first Mayor's Citizens Award winner.

Barry Pike, 18, from Drakes Way, has long had an ambition to teach.

He helps out at Laines-mead Primary School, which he used to attend, doing everything from listening to the children read to wearing themed fancy dress when the children were doing special projects.

Now the New College student's three years with the four and five-year-olds of the reception class have earned him the award in the Young Person category.

He said: "I hope to be some sort of teacher or helper in schools, so I thought the best thing to do would be to get some experience.

"I have always enjoyed teaching.

"When I was at this school myself I was always being asked to help with the little children's classes.

"It is very rewarding," Barry said.

The youngster said that he was surprised when the school told him that he'd won.

Headteacher Jean-nette Turner, who nominated Barry for the award, said she had never met a person like him during her 24 years in the classroom.

She said: "He comes in every day to help in some way. He is a very kind young man and has a lovely attitude with the children, who absolutely adore him.

"I have never encountered such a person. For an 18-year-old to give up so much of his time is pretty amazing."

In addition to his work for the school, Barry helps his disabled father, David, 49, look after his younger brother Tony, 12.

Mum Julie died, aged 38, two years ago, and David, a retired council worker, regrets that she was not here to see her son being honoured.

He said: "I'm very pleased for Barry. We live in a selfish society, so when you get kids who help out children like he does, it's absolutely fantastic."

The awards are aimed at recognising good citizenship in all their forms in the borough.

Barry will be receiving his award from mayor Derek Benfield in a special ceremony tomorrow.