A teaching assistant described as a “very special lady” has been nominated for a national volunteering award.

Jill Bean, chairman of the Sawtry Junior School Association, has made it through to the final eight of the 2014 National PTA-UK Gold Star Awards (Volunteer of the Year) after raising more than £13,000 for her school.

Jill, 53, chairman of the PTA since 2011, has organised many fundraising events, including shaving off her own hair in a school assembly.

On hearing the news that she been nominated, Jill said: "You could have knocked me down with a feather. To be honest, I was also a bit embarrassed as I am not the sort of person who likes to shout about what I do, I just get on with it."

Jill, one of 27,000 registered PTA volunteers in the UK, also supports other community groups, dividing her time between Sawtry Colts and the Sawtry Rainbow guides. Her next fundraising challenge is to complete a 874-mile bike ride, the equivalent of riding from Land's End to John O'Groats, on an exercise bike.

"It's my sort of bike ride really as I won't have to leave the school, but for every £1 that is donated I will ride one mile."

If Jill wins the PTA Award, the £1,500 prize money will go towards providing a tyre park, which will cost £8,000, for the school playground.

Fellow association committee member, Lynn Lawler, said without people like Jill many school activities would just not take place.

"Jill is a very special lady, as well as being a teaching assistant; she works tirelessly raising funds for the school. Jill stands out from other fund-raisers, not only due to her extremely hard work, but because she shaved her head during an assembly to raise funds for the school and I think there are very few ladies willing to shave their heads - so that is definitely worth a vote."

INFORMATION: The winner of the award will be chosen via a poll. Anyone interested in voting for Jill should go to: www.surveymonkey.com/s/VOY2014. Voting closes at 3pm on Wednesday (May 21). The results will be announced during the week commencing May 27 and the winner will attend an awards ceremony on June 11 in London.