INSPIRATIONAL people who make York special enjoyed their moment in the spotlight last night as the winners of The Press 2012 Community Pride Awards were announced.

Hundreds gathered at York Racecourse for a celebration dinner to honour the city’s devoted, selfless and brave unsung heroes who have touched so many with their incredible stories.

BBC presenter Colin Hazelden compered the evening, with the award sponsors on hand to congratulate the winners who were applauded as they made their way onto the stage.

One of the most moving moments came as Ava Gallantree, Jamie Inglis, and Juliet and Ella Taylor were all announced as winners of the the Child Of The Year accolade after our panel of judges found it too difficult to single one out.

Riley Plant, the little boy who who passed away after battling cancer, was also a winner of the category, which was dedicated to his memory. Jamie and family were not able to be at the ceremony but school friends Jemima and Madeline Lilliman received the award on his behalf.

The Spirit Of Youth title went to teenager Alfie Barlow, who was nominated after overcoming a mystery virus which left him unable to walk and whose perseverance saw him go on to become skilled in martial arts and a role model to other pupils at Canon Lee School.

The Person Of The Year was named as Graham Bradbury for his outstanding community efforts which has seen him raise an estimated £100,000 for charity through many events including the annual community carol concert and last year’s John Barry tribute concert.

Louise Rochester, deputy sister on the short-stay ward at York Hospital, was named Health Service Hero for her “wonderful” way with patients, family and colleagues and for going to incredible lengths to support others.

Meanwhile, a special achievement award went to Peter Lawrence, whose daughter, Claudia, disappeared in 2009, and who has led a campaign to make it easier for those dealing with a missing person’s estate.

The winner of the one-off York 800 significant achievement award, given to mark 800 years since the city received its royal charter, went to Joseph Rowntree, the philanthropist, social reformer and founder of the chocolate dynasty.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Steve Hughes, managing editor of The Press, said: “These are remarkable stories of courage and devotion, of ordinary people achieving extraordinary things. Nowhere is community spirit more in evidence than in this extraordinary city.”


Roll of honour:

York Press: Community Pride winners 2012