There were smiles and tears as winners were announced at the West Cumbria Community Heroes Awards 2016.

A glitzy gala ceremony was held at Whitehaven Golf Club on Friday to celebrate the unsung heroes of Copeland and Allerdale.

The event, now in its third year, recognises people in the community who help to make a difference.

In addition to the 11 categories, there were three special awards - West Cumbria's male and female of the year and the judge's special award.

Community fundraiser and volunteer Mark Andrews was given the prestigious award of West Cumbria Male of the Year.

Mark has been involved with the Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children's Fund since its launch. He has also helped raise cash for the Greenbank Community Fund, Rosehill Youth Theatre and has organised numerous fundraisers for one-off projects.

And 84-year-old Joan Capp from Bootle was named West Cumbria Female of the Year.

Joan launched Bootle Refugee Aid Cumbria UK in 1991, in the midst of the Bosnian refugee crisis, and registered as a charity in 1999.

Since then she has tirelessly collected donations and travelling to war-torn and crisis-hit countries to deliver humanitarian aid to those who need it.

Joan's nominator said: "She is now working harder than ever, trying to bring a glimmer of hope to refugees spread across the globe."

The judges' special award was awarded posthumously to Linda Johnston.

She has been remembered and celebrated for her achievements as a hard-working adult volunteer for Cumbria Army Cadet Force.

Judges said: "Major Linda Johnston was not only a volunteer herself; she was committed to helping and supporting other volunteers. She was a passionate educator and championed the cause of cadet and adult volunteer education.

"Her contribution throughout West Cumbria was enormous."

The evening was filled with tales of big-hearted community folk going that extra mile to make life better for those around them.

Craig Hatch , of Great Broughton, was named Carer of the Year. The award was sponsored by Westinghouse. Craig is one of a small group of parents across the UK who launched the campaign #notanurse_but. It is aimed at raising people's awareness of parents and family members who act as carers in their own homes.

Sharon and Richard Teasdale were named Good Neighbours of the Year. The award was sponsored by LLW Repository Ltd. The couple live in Bothel and set up a youth club with money from a community fund set up by the operators of the wind farm near the village. Around 45 children aged between five and 18 years attend.

Sophie-Leigh Sill won the Young Achiever of the Year category, sponsored by Balfour Beatty. The 11-year-old from Stainburn was one of only 12 youngsters in the UK to be accepted into the prestigious Royal Ballet School, beating about 2,000 eager candidates.

Olivia Mason was named Young Sporting Hero of the Year. The award was sponsored by Lakes College. The 15-year-old, from Branthwaite, was this year crowned the English Schools' Athletics Association junior girls' 1,500m champion. She also tops the UK rankings for 1,500m.

David Thomas won the Sporting Hero of the Year award, sponsored by CN Group. He is Lakeland Rowing Club's development officer. His tireless support includes making sure the club has boats in which to compete, finding ways to buy new kit and leading the hunt for a permanent home for the club.

Anne Kelly , of Whitehaven, won the Unsung Hero of the Year award. This was sponsored by NRL. She is the driving force behind Rosehill Youth Theatre. She has coached countless young performers over 20 years and worked hard to ensure performing arts remain an affordable and accessible pastime, regardless of family income.

Margaret McIntyre was crowned Volunteer of the Year. The Centre of Nuclear Excellence sponsored the award.

Dedicated volunteer Margaret has worked on behalf of the Workington-based Carnegie Theatre Trust and other organisations. Judges praised her dedication to the projects and have described her as "a remarkable woman".

Molly Robinson won the Young Volunteer of the Year award, which was sponsored by Atkins. The 13-year-old was recognised for being one of the major voices in Maryport's Save Our Beds campaign.

Molly, who lives in Cockermouth, helped put together and edit a YouTube presentation highlighting what had been done so far to try to save the beds at Maryport's cottage hospital.

Support workers of Calderwood House won the Best Community Project of the Year, which was sponsored by NNL.

They have created a welcoming, supportive environment at Calderwood House, a homeless centre opened in Egremont last September to provide an innovative solution to homelessness in West Cumbria, prioritising ex-military personnel and over-25s.

Judges praised the venture for being a "real community asset".

Martyn Rossi , coach for Salterbeck Football Club, won the Best Youth Community Project of the Year award, sponsored by Iggesund.

Coaching Salterbeck Football Club, in Workington, has enabled Martyn to give youngsters on the estate the chance to work together through sport.

After setting up the club, he has fought his way into the league by overcoming barriers.

Phoenix Role Models won the Best Business Community Challenge of the Year award, which was sponsored by Sellafield Ltd.

The initiative takes volunteer role models, from different organisations, and brings them into the youngsters' space to interact informally with them.

Nominators said as the sessions are in the young people's space, at Phoenix Youth Project, it changes the dynamics of the interactions and often brings about "incredibly honest conversations" between the youngsters and the adults.

The West Cumbria Community Heroes Awards were run in association with Sellafield Limited and organised by The Whitehaven News, Times & Star and CN Events.