THE VERY best of our community was honoured at a glittering awards ceremony this afternoon dedicated to our unsung heroes and those who have gone beyond the call of duty.

The Argus Community Stars Awards celebrated its 14th year with a bumper ceremony at the Theatre Royal in Brighton this afternoon which saw the winners collect their prizes. 

The nominations are sent in by Argus readers and the winner was then decided by our crack team of judges.

From parents and carers to local heroes and young sport stars, the very best of Sussex was on show at the ceremony which saw people cheer, laugh and cry.

Representatives of the first responders who attended the scene of the Shoreham Airshow Disaster on August 11 were met with a riotous applause as their efforts were commended at the ceremony in the Public Services Award category.

The award was just one of 20 to honour the very best of our community at an event compered  by television presenter and newsreader Nick Owen.

Chief Inspector Justin Burtenshaw, station manager Roy Barraclough, and clinical operations manager Steve Andrews were on hand to collect the award.

Other big categories included the Outstanding Contribution to Sussex Award, supported by American Express, which this year went to seasoned housing campaigner Andy Winter, CEO of the Brighton Housing Trust, after a vote by Argus readers.

Mr Winter was touched by the award but lamented the fact the need for the charity’s services were needed more than ever.

The Carol Barnes Courageous Child Award also saw four brave youngest facing illness take to the stage to a huge applause which left the crowd weeping to close the ceremony.

Florence Leppard, who was nicknamed the warrior princess after leading her family through a cancer battle, Hunter Hill, who was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer just days after he was born, Imogen Driscoll, who fights through cerebral palsy with a smile, and Darcey Stride, who cannot walk without the aid of sticks or a walking frame, were all invited to the stage to receive their awards.

Full List of Winners:
Beyond the Call of Duty Award - Nick Morrison
Business in the Community Award - The Bevy
Carer of the Year - Maria Davey
Charity of the Year - Play Area in Rottingdean Committee
Community Event of the Year - Woodingdean Carnival
Community Star of the Year - Jadey Yesilada
Contribution to Arts and Culture - Hove Plinth
Contribution to Sussex Sport - Albion in the Community
Employee of the Year - Lead Elkin
Grandparent of the Year - Jeannine Brett
Green Person or Project of the Year - The Real Junk Food Project
Parent of the Year - Jemma Peacock
Public Services Award - Dedicated to the Shoreham Airshow First Responders
The Local Hero Award - Rebecca and Paula Woolven
Volunteer of the Year - George Smewing
Young Community Star of the Year - Sam Mangoro
Young Sports Star of the Year - Matt Francis
Youth Group of the Year - Streetfunk
The Courageous Child Award - Florence Leppard, Hunter Hill, Imogen Driscoll, and Darcey Stride

For a full write up and pictures see Monday's Argus.