Stars of Norfolk & Waveney Awards: Photos and full list of winners
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
It was an evening of smiles, laughter - and more than a few tears.
Moving stories of bravery and dedication were shared last night as the winners of our Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards were finally revealed.
The magical ceremony saw finalists in our 14 categories honoured, with Thetford man Michael Bowley crowned the Overall Star of the evening for his courage in the face of a raging care home fire.
During three surprise Special Recognition Awards, guests listened to emergency calls made by youngsters Sasha Nutley and Megan Stratton, who - in separate incidents - called 999 to save their mums' lives.
Meanwhile, former Norfolk fire chief Nigel Williams' reflected on 30 years in the service and 12 of Norfolk's D-Day veterans were met by cheers and rapturous applause as they came on stage to be jointly honoured for the first time.
Nigel Pickover, EDP editor in chief, said: 'Tonight we are honouring the everyday heroes in Norfolk and Waveney whose work often goes unnoticed.
'You keep our communities ticking over - and you make our county such wonderful place to live and work.'
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Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the night was during the Volunteer of the Year Award, which was won by Sid Everett.
Mr Everett raised more than £150,000 for various causes over four decades, but sadly died just days after judges decided he should be honoured for his efforts.
His family and friends said that his now posthumous award was a 'fitting tribute'.
Meanwhile, the county's Community First Responders were recognised for their commitment, winning the Team of the Year Award.
The 52 volunteer groups across Norfolk are a vital link in our ambulance service.
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Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney
When Michael Bowley saw flames licking the inside of a care home in Thetford, he did not spare a thought for himself.
Instead, the 70-year-old rushed straight inside and started to put out the flames, using what he had - his hands.
Suffering blisters that took months to heal, Mr Bowley put out flames on a window ledge, while his daughter-in-law ushered residents of the care home outside.
The pair's brave actions saved the lives of eight residents, prompting
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to present him with the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire Award.
His courage convinced our judges that he should be the winner of the Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award.
But so impressed by the tale, the panel also decided that Mr Bowley should take home the prestigious Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney Award.
He was presented with €500 to take on a much-deserved holiday, after going years without a break.
Humble Mr Bowley said he was surprised to win and that he had done what anyone in his position would.