A dedicated volunteer who has been living with bone cancer for 17 years has been honoured as an unsung hero.

Southend Marie Curie volunteer Mark Hughes was named an ‘Unsung Hero’ at The Sun Who Cares Wins awards - where he got the opportunity to tell his story to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mark, who has been living with bone cancer for 17 years, was given his terminal diagnosis in 2011 and since, hasn’t shied away from speaking candidly about his illness and his future.

He was nominated for the Unsung Hero award by mountaineer and explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes who has previously climbed Mount Elbrus in Mark’s honour, recognising the work Mark does for Marie Curie.

In the past Mark has volunteered in a Marie Curie shop in Southend, been the face of the charity’s Great Daffodil Appeal, hosted auctions for the charity and worked hard to fundraise and raise awareness.

Mark said: “When I was told my cancer was terminal I didn’t have any money I could give to Marie Curie, but I wanted to start supporting them.

"I wrote to football teams explaining my circumstances and asking for donations which I then auctioned off and gave the money to Marie Curie.

“I’ve volunteered in a Marie Curie shop, and appeared in charity campaigns. I know my body might give up on me but, until then, if I can keep helping, I will.

“I am delighted to have won the award. Just being nominated was an honour enough and I felt I had already won just by being asked.

"All the finalists were winners in my eyes and we heard some really touching stories about real heroes in the NHS and health charities. I got to meet a few celebrities and the Prime Minister there, which meant I could spread the word about the important work Marie Curie does for people who are dying.”

Mark is continuing to support Marie Curie by working closely with the charity to campaign for more fair employment benefits for those with a terminal illness.

The awards pay tribute to the UK’s health heroes – the doctors, nurses, charities and volunteers who save lives and make a difference.