Finalists for Stars of Norfolk Awards are revealed

The judging panel making their selections for the EDP Stars of Norfolk Awards . Photo: Steve Adams

The judging panel making their selections for the EDP Stars of Norfolk Awards . Photo: Steve Adams

The finalists of the first ever Stars of Norfolk Awards have been shortlisted out of 302 impressive nominations for hard-working individuals and groups.

Winners of the event, which celebrate unsung heroes from across the county, will be announced at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, on Friday October 18.

The 12 judges made the difficult decisions today at EDP headquarters in Norwich.

EDP editor Nigel Pickover said: 'I'm humbled and overwhelmed by the amount of entries. It shows there are enormous amount of people doing wonderful things around the county.'

He told the judges: 'The Stars of Nofolk event will be a night you will take away with you for the rest of your life. The stories will be magnificent. It will be fantastic.'

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The number of entries was double the amount of the most successful Stars of Suffolk Awards, which have been run by the EDP's sister paper the East Anglian Daily Times for five years.

Chairman of Norfolk County Council Hilary Cox, one of the judges, said: 'It was quite apparent there are some outstanding categories proving there is a wide range of good folk in the county.

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'The amount of entries was overwhelming and it goes to show how Norfolk is blessed with good people.'

Another judge, Andrew Hopkins chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'I'm amazed by the number and quality of the applications. There are amazing stories of people who go above and beyond the call of duty.'

Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, who was on the same judging team as Mr Hopkins said: 'I would like to thank the people who made the nominations because without them we would not be able to celebrate these people.'

The 14 categories are Carer of the Year; Young Person of the Year; Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year; Community Group or Champion of the Year; Outstanding Bravery of the Year; Hospital/Ambulance Person of the Year; Team of the Year; Search and Rescue Person of the Year; Fire Service Person of the Year; Volunter of the Year; Armed Services Award of the Year; Police Person of the Year; Unsung Hero of the Year; and Small Business Community Support of the Year.

The most number of nominations was 55 for the volunteer category and deliberations over the finalists and winners lasted for more than two hours.

Other judges included county council leader George Nobbs; chief fire officer for Norfolk Fire Service Nigel Williams; Jess Gallagher from UK Power Networks; chief executive officer for Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind Max Marriner; BBC Radio Norfolk editor David Clayton; and Peter Joyner from Shorthose Russell marketing agency.

Mr Williams said: 'The awards are a fantastic idea. As a judge there are so many deserving people who do so many deserving things. Everyone who has been nominated are all winners and it has been difficult to pick one winner. I'm looking forward to a fantastic evening.'

The awards night will be held in the evening and presented by BBC Look East and BBC Radio Norfolk presenter David Whiteley.

At the awards launch, held in June at County Hall, Mr Pickover said he hoped the new awards ceremony would be a culmination of different awards ceremonies across the county.

Previous winners in the similar Stars of Suffolk Awards have included an 11-year-old boy from Ipswich who set up a brain tumour foundation and a police officer who was stabbed and nearly died.

Organiser Mick Parker said: 'The awards night looks set to be powerful, emotional and rewarding and we are all looking forward to an event which is sprinkled with stardust.'

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