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Craven Community Champions Awards 2016 - the winners!

The winners of the fifth annual Craven Community Champions Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Coniston Hotel on Thursday January 12.

Winners and sponsors 2016

The event, run by Craven District Council and the Craven Herald, celebrated the achievements of the amazing people who help make Craven's communities stronger.

Hazel Chatwin was named as Volunteer of the Year and Citizen of the Year for her huge commitment to so many voluntary causes, including saving Embsay Library from closure, tutoring at the U3A, and volunteering for Healthwatch. 

The 83-year-old said: "I'm spellbound, I didn't think I'd get one award, let along two. It's very nice when you've worked so hard to be recognised. I just feel every day when I get up, if I can make life better for someone, then life's been worth living. That's basically my philosophy in life. Voluntary work is very good in as much as you always get as much out of it as you put in."

The runners-up in Volunteer of the Year were Walter Evans, Beverley Wright and Rebecca Porter.

The Young Citizen of the Year award was won by Hayley Carroll, who has been campaigning to improve mental health provision since losing her brother Samuel to suicide in May 2016. She said: "I'm over the moon that more people are hearing Samuel's story and we can raise more awareness now."

Jade Robinson, Natasha Lambert and Sophie Elgie were runners-up in the Young Citizen of the Year Award.

Sutton's Got Brass, a community brass band formed in 2014, won the Arts and Culture Award. The group offers free tuition, free loan of a brass instrument and subs of £1 per week. Members range from pensioners to primary school children.

Kevin Allack, from Sutton's Got Brass, said: "Sutton's Got Brass is honoured to receive this award and especially so as we didn't realise the depth and breadth of community projects in the Craven area.  In reality it's the people of Craven who are the winners because of the range of organisations available in so many areas, catering for so many needs and interests.

"It was a brilliant event and our sincere thanks to CDC and to the sponsors.  So to all you potential or actual brass players out there - get in touch at suttonsgotbrass@gmail.com and you will be sure of a friendly Yorkshire welcome."

Runners-up were Angela Falshaw of Buckden Art Group, and Blue Moose Dance Company.

Friends of Aireville Park won the Greener Craven Award, after playing a huge role in the improvements to the park in Skipton, helping to fund a new pump track and skate park and running numerous community events.

Fiona Protheroe, chairperson of Friends of Aireville Park, said: "We're thrilled to have won. We're grateful for all the support from the community and we're really excited about the next stage as we work towards creating a new play area for the park."

Pals with Trowels, from Burton-in-Lonsdale, were runners up in the Greener Craven Award.

Adam Cox, who has taken Skipton Tennis Centre from strength to strength and inspired thousands of young people, won the Sport and Recreation Award. He said: "When I saw the other nominees, the quality was unbelievable. I'm really surprised to have won and it makes it even more of an honour to get this award."

Mark Christie, and People and the DALES were the runners-up in the Sport and Recreation category.

Best Community Group was won by Clapham Community Shop, which was set up after the closure of the privately owned village shop in 2014, and is run by over 30 volunteers.

Sue Mann, from the shop's management committee, said: "I feel incredibly surprised because the other two groups were amazing. We're just really proud for Clapham, it's a real achievement for the village."

Exclusively Inclusive and Horton Community Café were the runners-up in the Best Community Group category.

Clapham Hyperfast won the Digital Innovation in the Community award after raising more than £250,000 and creating a broadband network for residents in rural areas.

Simon Peach, of Clapham Hyperfast, said: "We're delighted for all the volunteers, landowners and investors who've made hyperfast broadband in Clapham possible."

The judging panel was made up of Councillor Chris Moorby, chairman of Craven District Council, Julian Smith MP, Damian Holmes, Editor of the Craven Herald, Mary Waterfall, of Craven College, Milton Pearson, of Craven CVS, Councillor Linda Brockbank, Lead Member for Working with Communities, and Dee Pollitt, of Craven Volunteer Centre.

Councillor Moorby said: "It was truly amazing to hear about so much tremendous work going on in our communities. This was a fantastic event - it's wonderful to be able to celebrate the efforts of these people who do so much to improve the lives of others.

"All the groups and individuals who were shortlisted deserve recognition for their hard work. We would also like to thank our sponsors for their continued generous support, without which the Craven Community Champion Awards would not be possible."

Associate sponsor Henry Boot Developments sponsored the awards for the first time this year, and each individual award was sponsored by a local business, including Peel Entertainment, Keelham Farm Shop, Broughton Hall Estate, Principle Healthcare Ltd, Angus Fire, the Coniston Hotel and Country Estate, and Yorkshire Housing.

To view a gallery of images from the evening, click here.