Photo Gallery: Community heroes and heroines celebrated at the Pride in Breckland Awards

They are the heroes and heroines who do amazing things to make their towns and villages better places to live.

And the boys and girls and men and women who put the pride in to Breckland were honoured as the district staged its version of the community 'Oscars.'

RAF Marham was a very apt venue for the Pride In Breckland Awards on Friday night as the servicemen and women who the whole nation is proud of were preparing to join military action against Libya.

Special guest for the evening of emotion and celebration was former RAF pilot Sqn Ldr John Peters, who was captured and tortured by the Iraqis during the Gulf War 20 years ago.

The 200-strong audience was captivated by his compelling story of the brutality of what he endured.

And Mr Peters said it was 'hugely important' to share stories of great things happening in communities and celebrate those local heroes.

'I would not be standing here if there had not been a very strong community when I got back from my release. For all the nominees here tonight, your stories make a statement about what community is about and about your courage and humanity.'

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Group Captain Pete Rochelle, station commander at Marham, said: 'We are so proud to host the awards and ceremonies like this are hugely important in the role they play in identifying and celebrating the often unsung heroes that make so much of a difference in our communities.'

During the inspiring ceremony, the efforts and selfless achievements of everyone from a four-year-old girl to a 100-year-old woman were recognised.

The overall Pride In Breckland Award went to Nick Loades, of Colkirk, near Fakenham, who also won the carer of the year category.

He is a full time carer for his wife Elaine, who has multiple sclerosis, and daughter Ellie, who has cystic fibrosis. As well as the devotion he gives to them, Mr Loades is also an active member of the community.

Shooter Mick Gault, of Dereham, who has worked at RAF Marham for nearly 20 years, was given a special lifetime achievement award to recognise him becoming the most decorated English competitor at the Commonwealth Games.

One of the most moving parts of the evening was the presentation of the child of courage category, which went to 10-year-old Thetford boys Harry Pichford and Isaac Hurry Palmer who bravely rescued a little girl from the water at Knettishall Heath.

As well as their award, they were also given skateboarding vouchers.

Pride In Breckland co-ordinator Richard Wills also arranged special gifts for the other finalists in the category. Four-year-old Isobel Hammond, who has had to fight a rare form of cancer, got a signed picture of her favourite pop star Aston from JLS.

Dylan Blackwell, who has been an inspiration to his brother Deryn, got a programme signed by the England rugby team, and Ellie Loades, who has cystic fibrosis and has been a great inspiration in her community, got a signed Peter Andre picture.