With all the glitz and glamour of the Oscars meeting the inspirational characters of West Cumbria, the Community Heroes Awards 2019 were as heart-warming as it gets.

The humbled nominees gathered at Whitehaven Golf Club on Thursday night for the event, organised by the sister papers of the News & Star, the Times & Star and The Whitehaven News, which saw the superstars of the county applauded for their hard work and selfless acts.

Hosting the evening was BBC Radio Cumbria presenter Caroline Robertson, who said: “All finalists tonight are winners in their own right.”

She added thanks to all judges, sponsors, technical crew, everyone at Whitehaven Golf Club for hosting, with a big thank you to major sponsor, Sellafield Ltd.

Kicking off the awards was Good Community Project, with mental health group Mind Ya Marras being given the award.

The support group was set up on the Mirehouse estate by Councillor Carl Walmsley and a handful of dedicated volunteers, who are trained mental health first aiders.

Emma Baughans of the Mind Ya Marras project said: “We’re really overwhelmed, we have only been going for a short amount of time. To be up against these projects, we feel really humbled.”

Other nominees in the Community Project category included Copeland Youth Network, Girls Gang and Maryport Amateur Boxing.

Judges were torn between the two nominees for Carer of the Year, with both Clare Farrell and Amy Thomas caring for their sons while fundraising to raise awareness for their conditions, Dravet Syndrome and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

And so the award was given to both caring mothers, who were thrilled about the joint win.

“I just feel very humble that someone thought of me for Carer of the Year. Massive thank you to whoever voted for me! And it’s so nice that we both won, that was lovely,” Clare said.

Amy was shocked but delighted, and said: “I don’t think I deserve it to be honest – I’m just his mam!

“It was so nice to be nominated though, and I’m so humbled by it. It was nice that we both won too, I know Clare and she’s definitely deserving of it.”

Samuel Chilton and Ellis Cannan took home the good friend award, nominated by Ellis’ dad and Samuel’s uncle, Mark Cannan.

The award was presented to the two boys by Carl McNicholas of Balfour Beatty.

Mark tackled a tasking endurance challenge in August, walking 150 miles to raise funds for Jack’s Journey.

Struggling with his endurance test for the West Cumbrian charity, he had to stop at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

However, the two boys joined in to motivate Mark, walking every step of the way to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

After Ellis and Samuel collected their award, Mark said: “It is amazing for them to offer the support that they did, putting in so much effort.”

Louise Walmsley was over the moon to win the Good Neighbour of the Year award.

The caring volunteer worker was nominated by her husband Carl for her selfless work and projects.

When nominating her, Carl said: “Louise does so many volunteer projects in her own spare time to better the lives of so many people.

“To name a few, she runs a free sensory room for anybody who may need it, and has been known to work on-call around the clock to help relax any potential meltdowns.”

He added: “Louise also runs a project in Mirehouse to support parents, ensuring their children wake up with presents on Christmas morning.”

And the proud husband had the loudest cheer when his wife won the award, grinning from ear-to-ear as she went up to accept her sparkling glass trophy.

Commenting on her award, Louise said, with a huge smile: “I like to keep things behind the scenes, but I’m pleased people recognise what I do - I’m really pleased.”

Taking home the award for School Worker of the Year was Mayfield School trainee teacher, Emma Hanabury.

Emma’s dedication to her pupils at Mayfield School, Whitehaven has been described as “second to none”.

The trainee special needs teacher was nominated for her care and patience, which allows her to build positive and supportive relationships with her pupils.

Parent Joni Cullen, whose son Joel is assisted by Emma, said: “She is a lovely girl who understands my son.

She goes out of her way to be there for Joel, even at anti-social times. It’s so lovely to see the smile on Joel’s face whenever he meets her.”

Emma was touched to win the award., and said: “It feels like a massive accomplishment, but I also want it to reflect on everyone that works at the school.”

The sporting hero category saw cricketing star Ben Stokes edge-out 17 year-old tennis coach Harrison Savage and young kickboxing world champion, 13 year-old Thomas Johnstone.

Former Cockermouth School pupil Stokes won the admiration of sporting fans across the country with his Cricket World Cup heroics this summer.

The Cockermouth schoolboy scored the runs that took the Cricket World Cup final to a Super-Over, securing the trophy for England. Stokes recently returned to his roots, bringing the world cup trophy to Cockermouth Cricket Club.

Runner-up Harrison Savage offers free tennis coaching sessions after school each day at Netherhall School, Maryport. The school’s team developed under coach Savage, winning the county championship.

Thomas Johnstone puts in 12 hours of training every week, earning him kickboxing titles on British and world level. He is also a European Jiu-Jitsu champion and a Scottish and UK Taekwondo champion.

The West Cumbrian Volunteer of the Year was Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team member, Nathan Major.

The devoted volunteer has been a Coastguard Rescue Officer for many years, and will always prioritise the Coastguard over his personal life, jumping at every opportunity to help those who need him.

The judges noted that this year’s winner is a “valuable member of society”, who volunteers for “one of the most important rescue teams in the country”, giving up his time with family and friends to respond to as many calls as possible.

And if he wasn’t shocked enough to be nominated in the first place, Nathan was absolutely bowled over to win the award.

“Just so thankful to all my friends, family and colleagues on the coastguard who have supported me. It was a bit of a surprise! We don’t do it to be recognised, but it’s really nice to be appreciated.”

Young achiever of the year was Maryport Netherhall School pupil Harrison Savage

The award was presented by Rebecca Graves of NRL. Harrison said: “I’m over the moon, that bit of recognition means a lot. I’ve played tennis since I was five, the sport’s given me a lot and I just really want to give back.”

Unsung heroes were honoured on the night. Elspeth Dennison, Desmond Mattinson and Maria Morton were all up for the Unsung Hero award.

Desmond was announced as the winner to rapturous applause, he was commended for his tireless work at Cleator Moor Amateur Boxing Club.

He has ran the boxing club, seven days per week for 30 years. Given the financial struggles of some local people, he has opened the clubs doors free of charge, offering leisure time to people who may otherwise be unable to afford it.

“I feel fantastic” he said.

“Thank you to everyone who nominated me, and for the support, it’s a big surprise but a fantastic one.

“I feel emotional, but mainly for the boxing club, it’ll make them feel more worthy and make them better volunteers. It shows that if you give something, you get something back.”

He faced stiff competition as Maria Morton was hailed as being “in a class of her own” by her nominator. She has been described as going above and beyond her call of duty as a medical practitioner, often staying behind at work for her patients.

Allerdale Person of the Year was Darren Martin

Martin won the award for his work at Maryport Amateur Boxing Club. he said: “The main reward is just to watch the kids grow as boxers but it’s reassured us that the community appreciates it and supports us.” – Gareth covering

Receiving one of the most coveted awards of the night was Copeland’s Person of the Year, Bob Marshall.

The hard worker’s efforts were outlined in a moving video of the winner, in which he discussed what his endless work and the award meant to him.

Bob was given the award for being “the driving force behind Lamplugh Village Hall” since its formation as a charity eight years ago.

Despite being quite ill in recent months, Bob has remained devoted to his work in administering the popular community venue.

Treasurer of the Lamplugh Village Hall committee, Judith Wildwood, said: “Mr Marshall’s vision and commitment has developed LVH as a social hub, with a range of classes, groups, films and concerts, providing a rich cultural mix to an isolated and dispersed country parish.”

She went on to describe him as the “main man” for the hall, and wanted Bob to be recognised for his work.

On top of his impressive list of good deeds, Bob has also secured over £500,000 from the National Lottery and other grant-making trusts.

The audience cheered, whistled and clapped endlessly after hearing of Bob’s devotion, and while he couldn’t be there in person to accept the award, the crowd in that moment were his biggest fans.

Paul Twyford accepted on behalf of Bob, and said: “He definitely deserved it.

“He’s worked so hard even though he’s been so ill - he’s a great hard worker, and I’m absolutely thrilled for him.”

The Crime Commissioner Special Award went to 100-year-old Thomas Hodgson.

“Was a walk in the park, it wasn’t a jump, it was a glide. When we came trough the clouds we could see countryside – you could see for miles and miles. It was beautiful. ‘You’re the oldest man in England to have jumped!’. I’m over the moon.”

There was a standing ovation for Bob who said: “It’s been the best year of my life.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the parachute jump, it was like the old days but it was a lot easier.”