HEROIC efforts, sheer bravery and inspirational people were recognised at an emotional Herald and Gazette Community Stars awards ceremony on Thursday.
The Dome, in Marine Parade, Worthing, played host to the annual awards after thousands voted for their community champions.
Splash FM breakfast show host Kevin King, presenting the awards for the first time, said: “We have so many wonderful people in our communities who go above and beyond to help others, even if it means putting themselves out.
“Many of these people don’t even realise what stars they are and that is why these awards are so special.”
From charity fundraisers to brave children and caring neighbours, residents were recognised across a range of categories.
One of the most poignant moments of the night was the awarding of the School Star trophy, with Davison High School for Girls, in East Worthing, well represented.
The award was between pupil Becky Goff, who calmly administered first aid to a neighbour after they collapsed, and inspirational Olivia Bolger, who died in the summer following a battle with cancer.
Davison teacher Tony Bailey told Mr King: “Olivia was a lovely year-11 pupil but died over the summer holidays of cancer.
“She was everything that we really love and cherish about our youth. She was a really warm, friendly, lovely and very funny young lady.”
The School Star award was won by Becky, while Olivia was awarded a special Herald and Gazette award for her bravery. Speaking afterwards, Becky said she was pleased Olivia had been recognised as she felt she was deserving of the award.
Disability awareness charity Enable Me, in Littlehampton, beat several larger charities in the Charity of the Year category.
Office manager Sue Pegrum, who nominated the charity, was delighted and surprised by the result.
She said: “It’s fantastic. It makes it all worth it for Enable Me.
“We are a small team working together and I think it’s great for the Littlehampton community. We’re taken aback.”
Seaside Hospital Radio, based at Southlands Hospital, was also a winner, in the Arts and Entertainment section.
Acting chairman Andy Wolage said: “It is a bit of a surprise. We are very honoured.
“It’s nice that the work we do has been recognised. It’s a great charity and team to work for – we all really enjoy volunteering.”
The radio station is now online, broadcasting 24 hours a day to patients at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals.
To find out more, visit www.seasidehr.com
n For more Community Stars coverage and details of all the winners, turn to page 38, and see www.worthingherald.co.uk, www.shorehamherald.co.uk and www.little hamptongazette.co.uk for video footage from the ceremony.