The 15 winners of the Best of South Tyneside Awards

Winners celebrate their success following the Best of South Tyneside Awards at the Quality Hotel in Boldon. Picture by David Wood
Winners celebrate their success following the Best of South Tyneside Awards at the Quality Hotel in Boldon. Picture by David Wood

A packed audience was moved to tears as it celebrated a night of champions.

The Best of South Tyneside Awards came to a emotional finale last night as community heroes galore picked up honours.

Child of Courage winners with their awards during the Best of South Tyneside Awards. Picture by David Wood

Child of Courage winners with their awards during the Best of South Tyneside Awards. Picture by David Wood

And among the numerous highlights was the moment when guests at the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, gave a standing ovation to the winners of the Child of Courage awards.

They included little Llana Qazi, five, who has had two heart transplants; Drew Broderick, 10, who is battling leukaemia yet still raised funds for the Royal Victoria Infirmary; Olivia Beavis, eight, who has battled with a spinal condition and undergone 25 operations, including a kidney transplant and Jana Ball-Laurova, two, who has bravely coped with a rare condition called microcephaly – which means she has an extremely small head and an abnormally smooth brain, which failed to develop properly during pregnancy.

Young Performer of the Year, in the category sponsored by Port of Tyne, was Hope Swan, 16, who attends Starset Theatre, in East Boldon, and JnK School of Dance, in South Shields.

Other winners included comedian Bob Stott, 70, who was presented with the Special Recognition Award for 60 years of bringing smiles to audiences.

Jim Purcell is the Role Model of the Year; while John Johnson was honoured with the Lifetime Contribution Award for three decades of volunteering at South Tyneside Hospital.

The winners just kept on coming with Jason Meiers as Community Champion, Street Angels South Tyneside collecting the Volunteer of the Year award; and South Tyneside Against Bullying the Community Group of the Year.

Emma True is the Child of Achievement, while Colin Burgin-Plews is the Fundraiser of the Year.

Warren Byrne received the Sporting Excellence Award; Helen Gibson Nursery won the Greener South Tyneside title and Donna Kerr-Foley was Entrepreneur of the Year.

And the line-up also included Kristie Harrington; Sofie Lincoln and Gabrielle Evans, from South Tyneside Gymnastics, who received the Sports Team of the Year award.

Watch out for a full pull-out supplement on June 15 featuring interviews and photographs of all of the winners.