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These were our South Tyneside heroes - but who could win an award this year?

Lindsey Grieves hosts craft sessions at Hospitality and Hope. Client Annette Everson
Lindsey Grieves hosts craft sessions at Hospitality and Hope. Client Annette Everson

The search is on the find the best community groups in South Tyneside - and one will become the winner of a Gazette award.

We’re on the hunt for a worthy cause to lift the title of Community Group of the Year category in this year’s Best of South Tyneside Awards.

Best of South Tyneside Awards sponsors.

Best of South Tyneside Awards sponsors.

The eventual winner will follow in the footsteps of the 2017 champions Hospitality and Hope, from South Shields.

It provides a soup kitchen, food and clothing bank and was also given the Queens Award for Voluntary Service last year. Judges were impressed with its incredible work to help combat homelessness.

Volunteer co-ordinator Maureen Gribben was at the awards night to represent the charity and looked back on the awards finale.

It was “a fantastic night”, she said, and added: “I was amazed at how many people were there and had been nominated.”

I think the biggest accolade you can have is that you are appreciated

Maureen Gribben

Maureen said she was “blown away” with all the good causes shortlisted from South Tyneside and was overjoyed when Hope and Hospitality was declared the winner.

“I didn’t think it would be us. I was absolutely delighted. It makes a difference, especially to our volunteers.

“I think the biggest accolade you can have is that you are appreciated.”

She urged Gazette readers to get involved and to nominate entries for this year’s awards.

You can do that by putting forward nominations for everything from sports team of the year to entrepreneur of the year, and community group to fundraiser.

You have plenty of time to come forward with the names of those you want to see in the running.

Once we pass the competition deadline, a panel of judges will meet to draw up the shortlist.

Then it’s on to the grand finale at the Roker Hotel where we will be revealing the winners on Wednesday, September 19.

It promises to be a fantastic occasion and we can look forward to it with the backing of a string of fantastic backers.

The Best of South Tyneside awards, this year, have the backing of Barbour; Harlow Printing Limited; JML; BT South Tyneside; Northumbrian Water and The Customs House.

Watch out for more details on them in the days to come.

In the meantime, let’s start that process of honouring all those unsung stars. We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards.

So now all we need are entries for this year’s awards and we want you to inundate us with impressive nominations.

Let’s make this a year when the judges have a tough task when it comes to drawing up the shortlist because the standard of entries is so high.

To nominate, send your entries by email to: lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk or posted to: Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.

THE CATEGORIES.

Role Model.

Neighbour of the Year.

Greener South Tyneside.

Child of Achievement.

Fundraiser of the Year.

Entrepreneur of the Year.

Carer of the Year.

Sporting Excellence/ Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Sports Team of the Year.

Community Champion.

Student of the Year.

Community Group.

Volunteer of the Year.

Child of Courage.

Young Performer of the Year.

Lifetime Contribution.