ACT now if you want to name this year's Wirral Volunteer of the Year!

Next month's closing date is looming fast and organisers are appealing to members of the public not to leave their nominations until the last minute.

"The Wirral Volunteer of the Year Award provides members of the public with a chance to say 'thank you' to a kind-hearted person or persons who throughout the year work so selflessly for either a disadvantaged person or for the local community," said spokesman Tony Sandwell.

It is you, the Wirral public, who will decide which of the peninsula's hundreds of 'hearts of gold' will receive the overall accolade at a special presentation night in June.

Whoever steps forward to take the coveted title will become only the fifth person to hold the prestigious award, following in the footsteps of Eastham's Bill Hughes, the first-ever recipient in 1995, Mary (May) Burscough, of Rock Ferry, Walter Robinson, of Wallasey, and the current title holder, Mrs Rose Dixon, of Birkenhead.

Organised by Wirral Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) Bureau, the award is being sponsored for the third successive year by NatWest Bank, which believes the Award "reflects perfectly" NatWest's own efforts to support the voluntary sector.

The annual Award, which recognises the sterling work done for local communities by volunteers in all parts of Wirral, has the wholehearted support of the Mayor of Wirral, Coun Mrs Margaret Green.

Members of the public are being urged to nominate those 'hearts of gold' who voluntarily give of their time for the benefit of either a whole community or an individual in need.

It aims to thank volunteers, to raise the profile of volunteering and to recognise the work undertaken by Wirral volunteers.

Closing date for nominations is Friday, April 24.

The Award again has six categories (listed below) from which an overall winner will be chosen.

As in previous years, the Award is open to people who are resident in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and who have received no previous major public recognition.

Nomination forms are available at all local CVS offices, Wirral libraries, leisure and community centres and also at the Wirral Globe offices in Catherine Street, Birkenhead.

The Six Categories

1: Unemployed.

2: Employed (for volunteering in their own time).

3: ounger person (under 25).

4: Older person (over 65).

5: Disabled person.

6: Specialist Category for 1999 - The "Made a Difference" Award (to recognise an individual or group whose contribution of one-to-one support has enabled others to overcome difficulties in their lives).

Converted for the new archive on 13 March 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.