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Daniela Pears (left) during Mitzvah Day 2015 (Credit: Yakir Zur)

Home Secretary Theresa May has presented Mitzvah Day’s Interfaith Chair Daniela Pears with a special award chosen by the prime minister for outstanding volunteers.

May was deputising for David Cameron, who was in Cumbria after the county suffered extensive flood damage. She praised Pears for her work developing the 365 initiative before presenting her with the Point of Light Award at 10 Downing Street.

“It is a tremendous honour,” said Pears. “Bringing faith communities together to help local causes is both my passion and privilege.” She added that mutual understanding, respect and friendship between neighbors of different faiths and increased awareness and support for local charities was “a win-win”.

This year’s Mitzvah Day, on Sunday 22 November, saw up to 40,000 volunteers take part. But Pears’ project, which encourages regular volunteering, caught the prime minister’s eye. Events are generally held around religious holidays such as Tu B’Shvat, Purim, Pesach, Harvest Festival, Eid, Ramadan, Sadaqa Day and Diwali.

“Daniela has given a huge amount of time to Mitzvah Day over the last five years,” said Cameron. “By leading the ‘Mitzvah Day 365’ initiative she has encouraged people to volunteer all year round as well as on the day itself, helping the nearly 40,000 volunteers who give their time to do even more in their local communities. I am delighted to recognise her as the UK’s 410th Point of Light.”