THE diversity of Basingstoke was put to the forefront when the winner of the Volunteer of the Year award at the Place to be Proud of Awards on Thursday last week collected his gong.

Arun Mummalaneni, chair of the Basingstoke Multicultural Forum, was picked to receive the award for his work with the forum, engaging and developing the array of communities of different backgrounds in Basingstoke.

Arun is one of the key figures in the forum, helping to organise events like last summer’s World Party, which brought together a range of artists and performers.

Speaking to the Gazette, Arun said: “Winning this award really means a lot to me, it puts the community front and centre, and it is a real honour.

“Basingstoke is an inclusive and diverse place, and this award is for everyone in that diverse community.”

When accepting the Volunteer of the Year award, Arun told the crowd at the Haymarket of his immigration to the area some 19 years ago, and how Basingstoke has diversified significantly since.

He told the crowd: “I now see Basingstoke as a rainbow full of diverse people in such a nice way, it adds a crown to Basingstoke.

Bill Browne, from award sponsor Gazette Newspapers, said: “Arun’s work with the Multicultural Forum and his passion for community engagement is exceptional.

“He is someone who believes in action and leads from the front in ensuring that projects are seen through to completion.

“His World Party Event in Eastrop Park, which included wide varieties of artists and performers, is just one example of this.”

RUNNERS UP: Alfredo and Eileen Lavorgna and Gavin Clark.