A MAN living with Down's syndrome has been chosen to represent a support service for adults after ten years with the group.

Dale Sugden, of Newton Aycliffe, has been selected as Option's member of the year in celebration of his generous nature and growth since he began attending the group.

Options – which runs at the Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP) in Newton Aycliffe – is a service which supports adults with physical and learning difficulties and works to promote independence, choice and social inclusion.

Fellow members said they were thrilled to announce Mr Sugden as member of the year at the annual awards ceremony at Redworth Hall Hotel where he was handed the title by former winner, Helen Smith.

Linda West, Options coordinator said: “Dale is a very popular member of the group, everyone believes he is a very deserving winner having grown in confidence and independence.

"Dale has been coming to Options for ten years and it is great to see Dale take on new tasks that he couldn’t before, and he always offers to help others.

"Dale enjoys welcoming members by making hot drinks on a morning and is very supportive and friendly. He loves to make others laugh and ensures all members are happy – his energy lights up the room.

"He will thrive by representing Options for this year, we’re all very excited. Well done Dale."

Mr Sugden added: “I am so happy and excited to win member of the year. It means a lot and I can’t wait to represent Options at events this year. I love coming to Options and seeing my friends every day, I thank them for voting for me.”

The night was filled with other awards and accolades, winners were, Thomas Oakley who won the award for member who has gained the most confidence, Shaun New won most cheerful member, Lesley Bowman won most adventurous member, Brian Heels won most sporty member, Gillian Clark won best chef, Alison Hurworth won best sense of humour, Chris Hinks won kindest member, Phil Thompson won most creative member and Samantha Grimes won most musical member.

This awards night was partly funded by donations from Sainsbury’s Cobblers Hall and the Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership.

To support the Options project contact Linda West on 01325-321234.