Thetford celebrates its community heroes at inaugural awards ceremony

The Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement held for the first time.Guests arriving.

The Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement held for the first time.Guests arriving. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Sporting stars, long-serving teachers and neighbourly volunteers have been celebrated at an inaugural awards ceremony in Thetford.

The Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement held for the first time.

The Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement held for the first time. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

More than 150 people packed into the Carnegie Room on Friday night for the first Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement, dubbed the TARAs, a glittering ceremony which honoured those who work tirelessly in the community.

Six award-winners were announced in Good Neighbour, Business, Young Person, Sporting, Volunteer and Bravery categories, while two surprise prizes were also revealed.

One, the Outstanding Contribution award, was given posthumously to Louise Cook, a 27-year-old who died of skin cancer in November.

After the mother-of-two was diagnosed - and given just three months to live - she set about to raise awareness of the cancer to help others spot the signs earlier.

Collecting the award, her husband Martyn Cook said his wife put others before herself years before she became ill and said her story had now reached people in America and Australia.

Meanwhile, Chilterns Estate Agents scooped the Business Achievement award for their involvement in the community, while the Ancient House Museum's Teen History Club won Young Person of the Year.

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Michael Bowley won the Bravery of the Year category for his courage in the face of a fire at a care home last January.

Without sparing a thought for himself, he rushed inside and put out the blaze using his hands, suffering serious burns but saving the lives of at least eight residents.

Local act the Ruby Sisters and singers from Liberty Church kept the audience entertained during the awards.

• For more and a full list of winners, see Monday's EDP.

• Did you go to the TARAs? Let us know what you thought by tweeting @EDP24