A VOLUNTEER motivated by her own experiences to help other people has been crowned Bury Woman Of The Year 2012.

Geeta Sarin, of Fairhaven Avenue, Whitefield, was chosen from more than 20 women to take the prestigious title last Thursday.

She volunteers with Bury Samaritans and BIG (Bury Involvement Group) In Mental Health, and has set up a website about sexual abuse awareness.

The 33-year-old also won the competition’s volunteer category and received the awards during a ceremony held at the Bolholt Country Park Hotel, in Walshaw Road, in aid of Bury Hospice.

Miss Sarin said: “I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I wasn’t expecting it. I am very, very happy though.

“There are a lot of people out there who need help and support, and if I can make a difference to one person’s life, it is all worthwhile.”

Miss Sarin was a victim of sexual abuse, which triggered a mental breakdown in 2002.

She was in and out of hospital for nine years, spending most of that time on in-patient wards, and has various health problems.

Inspired by her experiences, Miss Sarin now gives talks for Bury Samaritans and is vice-chairman of BIG, an organisation supporting people with mental health issues.

She also set up a website, saa.me.uk, which provides information about sexual abuse for children and young people.

Miss Sarin said: “I was in hospital for such a long time and I had my parents’ support, but that was all I had. I realised there was a need for people to be able to talk to others. I want to be there to help people and make a difference to people’s lives.

“I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor, and I want to make other people survivors, not victims.”

As Bury Woman Of The Year, Miss Sarin plans to continue raising awareness of sexual abuse and hopes to improve her website.

She will also seek further funding for BIG to continue its work.

While Geeta was the overall title winner, other individual winners were Dorothy Shenton in the carer category, and Emma Morris for the business and entrepreneur award.