TOO often our eyes are drawn to people who lack civic pride. The vandals, the yobs, the small, but aggravating, anti-social brigade.

It is about time we turned the spotlight on those who really merit our attention. The army of residents who delight in living in England's finest city, and care passionately about its social life, appearance and traditions.

That is why we have teamed up with City of York Council to launch York Community Pride today, St George's Day. The Evening Press applauds the council's raft of initiatives under the York Pride banner. Everything from the gum-busting machine cleaning the streets to Business Pride cash to improve our parks help lift our city's spirits.

Community Pride opens up the campaign to everyone. We are looking to sing the praises of York's unsung heroes, to honour York's unrecognised champions.

They are the people, young or old, who work quietly and tirelessly to enhance their neighbourhoods and help others. Our Community Pride awards will give them the recognition they have long deserved.

Do you know someone whose selfless efforts have improved your corner of the city? Then we want to know.

Community Pride is also about sparking into life new schemes to enrich York. If you have often thought about putting something back into this city, now is the time to act.

It needn't be a hugely ambitious project. We are looking for simple but effective schemes which can make a noticeable difference by the end of summer.

There are 11 different award categories, covering young people, schools, charity workers, volunteers, the environment and business. So every public-spirited citizen has the chance to shine.

York Community Pride will make our city an even better place to live. Will you be a part of it?

Updated: 11:05 Friday, April 23, 2004