THESE are the stars of Brilliant Bolton — giving up their time to feed and water young and old in the town.

Dozens of volunteers are this week making free packed lunches to feed youngsters during the school holidays

And last week — when 18,000 homes had their water supply cut — these four young men took it upon themselves to deliver 1,500 bottles of water to elderly residents across the borough.

Their kindness has been hailed by leaders in the town who said their actions are an example of Bolton's cracking community spirit.

The Bishop of Bolton Chris Edmondson said: “An idea like that, where these young Muslim men have distributed water to vulnerable people across Bolton is a brilliant example of community cohesion.

“And I am involved myself with the free lunches programme.

“This initiative means that youngsters across Bolton and their families will have a very different summer to what they might have experienced.

"I encourage anyone who can to can get down and volunteer each morning or make a donation."

Leader of Bolton Council Cllr Cliff Morris said: “These people are our true unsung heroes — they do these things without seeking any rewards.

“We have previously won the award for being the friendliest town in Britain and that is because of people like this.

“I do think we have a lot of very well spirited people in Bolton that do a lot of good work behind the scenes.”

Rizwan Gharda, aged 25, of Great Lever, his brother, and their friends all volunteer for the Al-Suffa Homeless Outreach charity in Bolton and regularly deliver food to homeless people in the town.

He said: “We have friends at the Zakariyya Jaame Mosque in Daubhill and I knew that they had lots of bottled water that a charity had recently donated — so I called them and they said we could have as much as we wanted.”

Mr Gharda and his friends, including Raheel Karim, aged 32, Maqsood Amenjee, aged 36, and his older brother Imran Gharda, aged 35, set about delivering the water, working until midnight on Monday and Tuesday and into Wednesday last week.

The team, which also included friends Zahid Patel and Usama Patel, took water to vulnerable people in a variety of locations stretching from the Johnson Fold estate all the way to Egerton.

Mr Karim said: “We just pitched up at the Johnson Fold estate late on — I think people were wondering what we were doing until they saw all the water we had.

“We found out where all the older people lived in the estate, but we didn’t want to wake them, so we put cases of water outside their doors for them to wake-up to.”

Mr Gharda said he hopes the group’s efforts can help to bring communities and cultures together in Bolton.

He added: “We don’t look at race, religion or culture — we just want to help anyone that we can.

“The reception we got was brilliant and the smiles on everyone’s faces made the hard-work all worth it.”

Mr Amenjee said: “We are used to delivering food to homeless people but this was new to us —some residents were a bit reluctant to open the door at first, but when they realised what we were doing they couldn’t believe it and they were really appreciative.”

The group was praised on Facebook by residents.

Johnson Fold resident Macenzie Campbell said: “My whole estate was out of water. Nobody could shower, make a brew or use the toilet. Then this van pulled up and two men jumped out with crates of water — nobody else helped but these guys."

Last week Boltonians also showed their community spirit by setting up a fundraising page for 91-year-old Lily Walsh, who was punched and robbed in the street.

More than £1,000 was raised in a matter of days with Mrs Walsh saying she would donate the money to charity.

Meanwhile, volunteers have this week been buttering, slicing and filling sandwiches before packing them off to 18 pick-up points across Bolton.

Urban Outreach is aiming to provide about 30,000 meals during the six-week holiday to help families who usually rely on free school meals.

The Bolton Lunches project is being expanded this year, following on from last year’s scheme which saw about 600 lunches delivered each day.

The charity is continuing to ask volunteers to help make the lunches every morning between 7.15am and 8.30am until September 4.

The first day of the project saw about 40 volunteers start work early at the former Allied Carpets unit in Trinity Retail Park, with some making sandwiches and others creating lunch packs.

The charity is being helped by a host of organisations including Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Asda and Warburtons.

The Seddon Group and TrustFord have provided vans to the project that will deliver the lunch packs to the various pick-up points.

Hannah Matthews, from Urban Outreach, said: “It has all gone really smoothly so far — we had lots of volunteers doing different jobs to make sure the lunch packs were made and sent off in good time.

“The idea is to distribute them to as many different centres so people can get something locally without having to travel very far.

“We are playing it by ear in terms of numbers — we have started at the point we finished last year — which is about 1,000 a day.

"But we will get feedback from the distribution centres and will base how many we continue to do on what they say.”

Urban Outreach says the project will cost about £30,000 — or £1 per lunch.

The meals consist of a ham, cheese or tuna roll, a pack of cheese biscuits or crisps, a cereal bar, a carton of apple or orange juice and a piece of fruit.

To donate to the cause or volunteer your time visit or call the charity on 01204 385848.