Evening Times Community Champions 2014 crowned

Our nominees gathered in the City Chambers’ splendid banqueting hall for an inspiring awards ceremony to discover who would be crowned 2014 Evening Times Community Champions.

The evening celebrated public service workers, community groups and members of the public, young and old, who have dedicated their time to improving their community.

Glasgow was at the centre of the world stage this year when it hosted the Commonwealth Games but the evening was to celebrate the city’s own unsung heroes.

With the sporting event of the summer still fresh in everyone’s mind, it was easy to understand why Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, when she opened the ceremony, accidentally called it the Common-wealth Games – to the amusement of everyone in the audience.

The atmosphere in the audience was electric as nominees danced, laughed and cheered on their fellow community champions.

Jimmy Wilson, Services Manager at FARE, summed up the mood.

He said: “Regardless of whoever wins, everyone is happy to be here.”

Anne Scott, manager of the Glasgow City Mission and Family Centre, was ‘nervous but excited’.

She said: “It’s such a privilege to be here, just to even get this far, I’m so thankful to the people who recommended me.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been nominated, I was really surprised, for people to recognise the work that I do, I couldn’t do it without the team behind me.”

Inspector John Gormley, who has previously presented an award at the Community Champions and been a judge for the event, was up for an award with the rest of his team, the Easterhouse Community Police.

He said: “I’ve been involved in the Community Champions awards for a while in different areas of Glasgow, but I’ve never been part of a nomination, that made it more special.

“When we found out a couple of community organisations that put our names forward it was a really nice feeling, and a bit of a reward for our hard work.”

Nominees had the chance to meet up with organisations they hadn’t come into contact with before.

Colette Boyle, director of Home-Start Glasgow South, said it was ‘fabulous’ to have been nominated in the first place.

She added: “It’s really nice to come along and see all the different support services across Glasgow and meet people from all sorts of organisations.”

The City Chambers was buzzing with a vibrant, lively atmosphere through-out the celebrations, which marked the sixth year of the awards which were launched in 2008.

Andy Bates, Chief Superintendent of Police Scotland, presented the Sports Award, and said he never ceased to be amazed by the people who “go the extra mile to help their communties.”

Professor Frank Coton, Vice Principal at Glasgow University, who were up for the Sports award but lost out to Glasgow Girls FC, said: “We were absolutely delighted to be nominated, what a boost it was to all the people involved.

“We’re surrounded by people here who are very deserving to be nominated and it’s a tremendous feeling of community spirit.”

Andrew Tunn, who works for Glasgow housing Assosication was nominated for a Public Service Award, said: “Coming through the South regional heat was quite a surprise, I’m excited to be here tonight, wife and weans in tow.

“It was at a meeting with colleagues I was told I was nominated, lo and behold did I know I was going to end up here just before Christmas, I’m delighted.”

The last award of the night was presented by the Lord Provost to the Epilepsy Connections Fieldwork Team for their community service.

Gayle Weir was taken aback by the presentation as she got onto the stage and laughed: “This wasn’t expected.”

Nicky Thomson, chief executive officer at the Good Morning Service, said: “It’s great to have such an acknowledgement from the public.

“It’s lovely to see every section of the community represented tonight.”

The grand final is also a showcase for local talent and singer Emma Ochia entertained the invited guests, while the night closed with songs from RockUs Choir.