Pictured: Mayor of Hillingdon Allan Kauffman, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (third from left) and Gazette news editor Alan Hayes (centre back) join this year's Local Heroes (l-r) Jackie Clark-Basten, Ethan Kosak-Hine, Cornell Otudeko, Barbara Garrison, and Alison Evans and Andy Robertson from Trinity Homeless Projects.Inspirational people who make a difference in Hillingdon took centre stage at Uxbridge
Inspirational people who make a difference in Hillingdon took centre stage at Uxbridge College and the Uxbridge Gazette's Local Heroes awards.
The eleventh annual awards commended people whose efforts have made them stand out in their communities.
The Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Allan Kauffman, Mayoress Mrs Lynne Kauffman, and Cowley's Paralympic 2012 dressage double gold-medallist Natasha Baker were guests of honour at the gala ceremony, held at Uxbridge College in Hayes, off Coldharbour Lane.
Contesting six award categories - Community Champion, Courageous Citizen, Star Carer, Outstanding Young Person, Fabulous Fundraiser, as well as the overall Hero of Hillingdon prize - were 23 finalists, whose stories served as a reminder of the good done in Hillingdon every day.
The Hero of Hillingdon – the overall winner – was named as lifelong Sipson resident Jackie Clark-Basten, a lynchpin of her community and a key figure in giving others a voice over plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
The Hero of Hillingdon was chosen from among the five category winners, and Mrs Clark-Basten also scooped the top Community Champion prize.
Laraine Smith OBE, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “The Local Heroes 2013 gala night at Uxbridge College in Hayes was a wonderful event, and if our guests enjoyed it half as much as I did, they will have had a night to remember.
“Our community is at the heart of everything we do as a college, and it is certainly fitting for us to be part of this annual event to honour its unsung heroes.
“I would also like to thank those Uxbridge College students who provided musical entertainment, technical support and of course the delicious buffet in Revisco at the end of the evening.”
Alan Hayes, news editor of the Uxbridge Gazette, said: "It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful some of the people living in our community can be, and each year there is a fresh crop of surprising, moving, and inspiring stories to tell."
Winners received £200, and runners-up £50, with highly commended candidates getting a certificate. The Hero of Hillingdon won an additional £500.
Among the category winners were 16-year-old Cornell Otudeko who took the Outstanding Young Person prize. Cornell has excelled in his studies at Harefield Academy and kept his spirits high despite his daily battle with Crohn's disease.
And young people swept the board in the Courageous Citizen category, with 12-year-old Taekwondo star Ethan Kosak-Hine awarded the top prize following his remarkable recovery and impressive fundraising efforts after almost losing his foot in an accident.
Trinity Homeless Projects, the Uxbridge-based charity which aims to improve the lives of rough sleepers, won the Star Carer award.
Harlington Hospice charity shops manager Barbara Garrison, who gained four nominations, is this year's Fabulous Fundraiser.
The awards ceremony was held at Uxbridge College in Hayes, with prizes announced in the theatre, and a buffet reception in Revisco restaurant. Food was made, cooked and served by professional cookery students in the restaurant, which is open to the public for lunch during term time.
Uxbridge College music student Omorinmade Anikulapo-Kuti played the piano keyboard, with a selection from composers including Chopin and Mozart. Technical production arts student Arran Lawton provided audio visual and lighting support for the awards ceremony.
The Gazette out on 12 June will feature four pages of stories and pictures from Local Heroes 2013.
The winners were:
HERO OF HILLINGDON
Winner: Jackie Clark-Basten
Runners-Up: Anab Abdalla, Dave Gentry, Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein
Highly Commended: Elliot Blain, Les Drussel, Tony Ellis
Winner: Ethan Kosak-Hine
Runners-Up: Natasha Bennett, Rachel Robinson
Highly Commended: Lewis O'Sullivan
Winner: Trinity Homeless Projects
Runners-Up: Emma Brown, Peter Fletcher
Highly Commended: Brian Smith
OUTSTANDING YOUNG PERSON
Winner: Cornell Otudeko (16)
Runner-Up: Nasrudin Mohamed (16)
Winner: Barbara Garrison
Runners-Up: Michelle O'Shea-Sandwith, Pam Valentine-Duval
Highly Commended: Bob Jenkins, Hannah Luckett, Eddie O'Sullivan