The region's unsung heroes have been recognised in a heart-warming ceremony organised by the EDP.

Now in its ninth year, the EDP Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards continue to shine a light on those in our community who have shown selfless acts of kindness, heroism, and bravery.

Supported by headline sponsor Hopkins Homes, the awards offer a chance to thank the groups, organisations, and individuals who have gone the extra mile across 13 different categories.

Eleven-year-old Carly Gorton, of Southburgh, near Hingham, won the Overall Star category.

She was nominated for her exceptional efforts and determination to see afro wigs become a feasible option for individuals who have lost their hair following cancer treatment.

Eastern Daily Press: Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021 at Norwich CathedralStars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021 at Norwich Cathedral (Image: Matt Brasnett)

Despite being told it was not possible to do, the determined schoolgirl eventually found a professional wig maker in America willing to give it a go.

On December 17 last year, Miss Gorton shaved off her own hair and made history by having her hair turned into the first British afro wig. It was later donated in March to a child undergoing cancer treatment.

On winning, she said: “Its quite overwhelming. It’s really amazing, but it’s also about making people aware of that problem that was there and I’m really glad that’s happening too.”

Held in the city centre in the nave of Norwich Cathedral, the awards presentation took place on Friday, December 3. The awards were handed over by Joshua Hopkins and Lady Pippa Dannatt, the Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk.

Eastern Daily Press: Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021 trophyStars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021 trophy (Image: Matt Brasnett)

David Powles, editor of the Eastern Daily Press, presented the awards and said: "Through what has been another challenging 12 months, I'm proud that we were still able to put on a memorable Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards event.

"I’m delighted that we’ve been able to comply with all the relevant safety precautions while giving our winners and finalists the recognition they deserve.

"I give my thanks to our sponsor Hopkins Homes, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Theatre Royal, and the EDP team who worked so hard on the event, for all their support.”

Lee Barnard, group managing director at Hopkins Homes, said: “It was a privilege to be part of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards for the third successive year, celebrating public-spirited achievement from the very best and brightest across our region.

Eastern Daily Press: The winners of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021The winners of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 (Image: Matt Brasnett)

For winners of the 2021 awards, Norwich Theatre Royal is presenting them with four pantomime tickets each to see a performance of Dick Whittington and his Cat.

  • Get a copy of Monday's EDP for an eight-page special supplement from the event, featuring all the winners and their stories.
  • Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 at

The full list of the EDP Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 winners:

Carer of the Year - Lauren Tubby

Charity Hero of the Year - Tim Owen

Community Hero of the Year - Lily Lancaster

Education Hero of the Year - Catherine (Cat) Elsom

NHS Person of the Year - Lorraine Snailum

Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year - James Heales

Police/Fire Person of the Year - NFRS Mortality Pathway Project team

Team/Community Group of the Year - Merchants’ Place Community

Unsung Hero/Heroine of the Year - Ben Poole

Village/Town of the Year - Aylsham

Young Person of the Year - Carly Gorton

Judges’ Special Award - Jonathon and Tanya Childs / Vickie Cunnane

Overall Star - Carly Gorton