YOUNG volunteer Mark Peacock’s ability to break barriers has earned him a top award.

Dedicated 15-year-old Mark, who has autism and learning difficulties, has participated in events and clubs run by local charity Breaking Barriers, which supports children with disabilities and their families, since he was a young boy.

But 18 months ago Mark, who attends Albany High School, Chorley, began volunteering himself, helping to support younger children at clubs and representing the organisation.

His enthusiasm and dedication have led to him winning an award from Dimensions, a national charity which supports people with learning difficulties and, more recently, he was honoured at the North West Charity Awards with the Young Charity Ambassador of the Year trophy.

Delighted Breaking Barriers founder Steph Sherratt praised Mark, who lives with his parents Darren and Laura and younger sister Amy in Horwich.

“I am massively proud,” she said.

“I feel that young people like Mark go unrecognised and overlooked when their achievements are huge. It takes more of an effort for them to step out of their comfort zone.”

She added that Mark, who is studying GCSE child development and hopes to study child care at college, has changed and become confident, positive and cheerful, determined to help others. “He does it because he understands and wants to make a difference,” said Mrs Sherratt.