For the past 16 years Maria Bewers, from Acomb, has voluntarily run the family room at York City Football Club for every home match.

Families who come to watch the match at Bootham Crescent have been able to enjoy a warm, safe and relaxed environment as a result of her selfless hard work.

Co-volunteer Chris Middleton, who has worked with Maria for four years, said: “It’s arguably one of the most friendly and civilised open-access areas for families at any club in the football league”.

Maria was put forward for The Press Community Pride Volunteer of the Year award by Chris.

He said: “I nominated Maria for the award for her dedication over such a long period of time.

“If it wasn’t for her the family room would not exist and it would be a great loss to the club”.

One of Maria’s most impressive achievements is assisting the club in raising four-figure sums every season for the club’s youth development fund.

Before York City’s promotion the family room was the main source of income for the youth development work at York City.

On match days, Maria and her small but dedicated team of volunteers serve customers before the game and during half-time.

Tidying-up after a busy half time often means Maria, who is a big York City supporter, misses the second half.

Maria said: “If they score a goal I’ll hear a big cheer and sometimes that will be the only goal of the match – but I don’t mind.

“It’s great that my work has been recognised. I enjoy doing it and it’s great that the money goes back into the York community”.

As well as running the family room at the club, Maria also works as front of house manager at York Theatre Royal and is a voluntary broadcaster at York Hospital Radio.

Volunteer of the Year is one of 13 categories in the Community Pride awards, which honour heroes of York whose hard work and selfless dedication make the city a better place.

The category is sponsored by Aviva and recognises an individual who gives freely and unselfishly of his or her time to help others.

The awards are run by The Press together with the City of York Council and sponsored by Benenden Health, and we need to hear about your community heroes.

For more information or to make a nomination go to:

Nominations can also be sent to Paula Homer, PA to the editor, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN before Friday, July 18 with details including a supporting statement of no more than two sides of A4 with each nomination.

You may also include a picture, which unfortunately we will be unable to return.