Tuesday night's Argus Achievement Awards, sponsored by Legal and General and Southern Water, was certainly a night to remember.

Twelve awards were handed out to individuals to honour their contribution to Sussex life. Richard Gurner was at the Theatre Royal Brighton to speak to some of those receiving awards.

Now in its seventh year, the Argus Achievement Awards has become a staple of life in Sussex, congratulating and heaping praise on those who otherwise would go about their good deeds unnoticed.

All of the finalists, nominated by our readers, were invited to the ceremony and in the words of The Argus editor Michael Beard, who opened the proceedings: "In our eyes, everyone who was nominated is a winner."

After a performance of songs from musical Oliver by the Brighton Theatre Company, BBC news presenter Nicholas Owen, who hosted the ceremony, addressed the audience.

He said: "Its amazing that seven years have passed. It's always a very special event and it's fabulous we're doing it in this fabulous theatre. It's a marvellous occasion to let members of the community, young and old, from all over the county, gain recognition for that little bit extra they give each and every day."

Achiever of the year went to eight-year-old Lauren Gander, from Bexhill, who was nominated by her parents Linda and Lionel. She is a talented dancer and has already appeared in nine productions in major theatres across Sussex and the West End in London.

All of this has been achieved despite doctors telling her she may never walk.

The second award of the night went to Leroy Hobden, from Hailsham, who was named the Adam Faith local hero of the year.

Leroy was nominated by our reporter Jess Bauldry for donating a kidney to a complete stranger.

Leroy decided to honour the memory of his younger brother Daniel, who died of leukaemia in the 1970s, when the Government changed the law last year to allow donations to take place from living donors to strangers.

He said: "My brother was my main motivation. When he died, organ and tissue donation was rarer than it is now. We all suffered a lot then so this is for my brother."

The third award of the night went to Courtney French.

The ten-year-old pupil of Barnham Primary School, near Bognor, was named green pupil of the year and was presented with the award by Geoff Loader, Southern Water's director of communications.

He said: "The Argus Achievement Awards are a fitting recognition of some tremendous people.

"Whether overcoming adversity, helping others or making other outstanding contributions you cannot help but be moved by all they have done. It is great The Argus recognises this and provides the icing on the cake for some truly amazing achievements."

Courtney was nominated by Julie Hodgson, headteacher of Barnham Primary School, near Bognor.

Courtney has been an active member of her school's eco-committee since September 2006 and is passionate about green issues.

Parent of the year was Becky Townsend, from Brighton.

Charity of the year was named as City Synergy, which also received £1,000 from sponsors Legal and General.

The charity, which provides sports and social activities for blind and partially sighted people, was nominated by Elizabeth Gillett.

The Carol Barnes courageous child of the year award, named in honour of the long-time Argus supporter and ITN news presenter who died this year, was won by all of the children nominated for their bravery in the face of ill health, either suffered by themselves or by their parents.

The winners were Oliver Turner, Stacey Warwick, Scott Eaton Oliver, Jordan Manderson, Shannon Burtenshaw, Daniel Kitt, Hayley Okines, Luke Hibberd and Alex Boxall. Each child received £100 from the Argus Appeal.

Other winners included Patcham High School teacher Nancy Meaker, who won teacher of the year, and Brighton resident Christina Mundy, who won neighbour of the year for her work helping others who live near her.

Colin and Barbara Stevens, from Newhaven, were presented with the beyond the call of duty award after they saved a suicidal young girl's life by talking her away from a cliff edge.

Chief Inspector Peter Laverick, divisional police commander for Lewes, said: "They probably saved the life of this young girl, while putting themselves at risk. I am amazed at how modest they are about what they did."

School of the year went to Cuckmere House School, in Seaford, which educates pupils with behavioural, emotional and social problems.

There was a huge cheer for the school and a standing ovation from members of the audience when it was announced as the winner by Southern FM DJ Danny Pike.

In 1992 Frank Stanford was appointed headteacher of the school. At the time it had been described by inspectors as one of the ten worst schools in the country.

In the intervening 16 years it has made a dramatic recovery and was recently judged by watchdog Ofsted as being outstanding.

Angel of the year went to monk Brother Francis, a paediatric nurse at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton.

He was nominated by Karina Gilham-Hills for the caring support he showed when her nine-year-old son died from a brain tumour.

She described him as an extra member of the family.

Francis, who spent his last day at the Royal Alexandra yesterday before moving to Aberdeen, said: "I'm overwhelmed.

"It was a very poignant moment."

The final award of the night went to Sussex cricketer Mushtaq Ahmed who won the contribution to Sussex award for his services to the sport in the county.

Presenting the award, Argus managing director Martyn Willis paid tribute to the Pakistan bowler and said: "Mushy, as he is known, is much-loved by Sussex CCC supporters and is an inspirational character to the other players, the coaches, the supporters, the cricket fraternity and the county as a whole. He is also very much a respected family man. I am proud to announce Mushtaq Ahmed as the very worthy winner of this Argus Achievement Award."

Mushtaq, who powered Sussex to glory in the county championship in 2003, 2006 and 2007, said: "Thank you very much to the people who nominated me. I cannot express my feelings."

See our video highlights from the night by clicking here. To view our photo gallery, click here.