Norfolk People of the Year revealed at Norwich ceremony

Norfolk's unsung heroes were last night recognised for their remarkable efforts at a glamorous celebration for the first EDP Norfolk People of the Year Awards.

Pictures of the finalists flashed up on a big screen and their stories of selfless community spirit were told before the winners of the 10 categories were announced at the ceremony in Norwich.

An eminent panel of judges whittled down the nominations to a shortlist of finalists before choosing a winner in each category.

Dawn Jackson, who helped to found Norwich-based Future Radio charity and helped children receive full-time education, was named Norfolk's most inspiring figure.

EDP editor Peter Waters told the finalists and invited guests the awards had been founded this year to give recognition to ordinary people who, 'though they wouldn't admit it, are doing extraordinary things'.

He said: 'These awards are about the invaluable work of individuals, fundraisers, voluntary workers and community groups, whose selfless efforts help improve the quality of life in the county and our overall sense of well-being.

'The winners have made a significant contribution to our community life.

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'They are people who have already helped achieve our own 'Norfolk Big Society'.'

The awards were launched earlier this year with the help of Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Community Foundation supported by Norfolk Constabulary.

BBC presenter Carol Bundock, who hosted last night's awards and was a judge, said: 'It is a fantastic celebration of all the good people and their work in Norfolk.

'It is lovely to host a ceremony like this.

'We were unanimous in our final decision. I am delighted for everyone, in particular Dawn Jackson – this has been a terrific year for her.'

Also on the judging panel was the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, who started the evening meal with a witty prayer in poetry.

'It is a great occasion', he said. 'Norfolk is known for its coastline and its arts and culture but it is only Norfolk because of the people that make this a fine county.'

Norfolk Community Foundation chairman Theodore Agnew, who has helped with the founding of the awards and was also a judge, said: 'We had a very strong list of candidates.

'These are all people who give their time voluntarily to the Norfolk community.

'That is the definition of a civilised society. It is community that holds it together.'

Norfolk chief constable Phil Gormley said: 'Norfolk is a county full of people doing good work and has a strong sense of identity.'

Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, said: 'It's always a good thing to celebrate success and achievement. The judges had to consider the wonderful people who have all done wonderful things.'

He said all the finalists had been worthy winners.

Former Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox was unable to attend the awards, but also helped with the judging.

Award Winners

Norfolk Hero of the Year: Roy Spalding

Young Norfolk Hero of the Year: Josh Worley

Working for Others Award: Chris Greensmith

Inspirational Educator of Year: Inna da Costa

Carer of the Year: Elizabeth Curtis

Safer Norfolk Award: Olly Day

Building Stronger Communities: Aylsham Playground

Love Norfolk Award: Trunch Community Composting Scheme

Community Event of the Year: Norfolk and Central Norfolk MIND Festival of Cultures

Most Inspiring Norfolk Figure of the Year: Dawn Jackson MBE