A youngster who gives up her free time to mentor and help smaller children has been hailed as a role model.

Jo Saunders, ten, who lives on the Fairview estate in Braintree, joined St John Ambulance’s Badger programme three years ago.

Having initially joined the Braintree and Bocking Badger Sett, she was chosen for an Essex-wide role after supporting younger children at Great Bradfords Junior School.

Jo has now been named 2013 District Badger of the Year for South Anglia.

At school, Jo often gives up her mid-morning break and lunchtime to take part in the ‘helping hand’ project, teaching younger pupils games and helping shy children make friends in the playground.

She said: “Since I started Badgers, I have both loved and enjoyed taking part in all the trips and fun activities, but what I enjoy most of all is helping and taking care of other children.

“When I see them happy, then I am happy. I hope to continue to be involved with St John Badgers for a long time to come.”