AWARDING people is a vital part of community life, and the Mercury is delighted to be able to recognise those who have gone that extra mile.
To highlight those stand-out people in the Dales we have popped the champagne cork to celebrate no fewer than three sets of awards this year.
The new year got off to a great start with the New year’s Honours awards, for those who had given up their own time to help others.
In a special ceremony at the Imperial Rooms, we were able to pay tribute to, among others, Tom Pilkington of Darley Dale, Ann Kenworthy, who raises funds for South Darley Village Hall, care worker Jane Dodds, and Ken Forbes who was rewarded for his efforts in keeping Wirksworth’s memorial gardens clear of litter.
Unsung heroes of the retail world also had their moment in the spotlight thanks to the Mercury’s Super Server awards.
Those shopkeepers or assistants who had helped put a smile on customers’ faces.
And the idea of rewarding those who help keep the Derbyshire Dales thriving certainly paid off with a deluge of nominations.
No fewer than 25 were put forward for the gong, ranging from post office workers, to farm shop assistants, newsagents, bankers and a restaurant hostess.
And it was a post office worker who was delivered the award, with Carol Easton from the Cromford branch beating the other 24 hopefuls.
She had been nominated by several customers and she was presented with a £250 TV donated by C Farmer Ltd in Matlock.
The cream of the local sporting fraternity was not to be forgotten by the Mercury either, and came out in force during the summer to mark the paper’s first-ever sports awards.
The eagerly-anticipated event was held at Matlock Town FC’s sparkling clubhouse and was the culmination of weeks of nominations from readers.
And after some long deliberation Sportsman of the year was awarded to Peter Camm of Matlock Cricket Club, with duathlon star Christine Howard taking the women’s title.
Other winners included Arthur Green of Matlock Cycling Club in the young sportsperson award, Wirksworth Colt Girls Under 10s taking the team accolade while Chris Whitall landed an unsung-hero gong for his 25-year association with the Colts.
Editor Amanda Hatfield said: “We wanted our readers to reward those people in our community who had shown commitment to the sporting arena, not just those who displayed sporting excellence, dedication and determination, but also those who are in the background, making it all happen.”
Nothing is guaranteed to get readers gushing more than babies and pets, and so the Mercury holds the annual Child of the Year awards, and Pets on Parade.
With more than 50 entries for the phone-vote child competition, there was a winner from each of the three age categories, with each of their parents receiving a black and white canvas print of their child’s entered photo.
The winners were Lucas James, Kaden Patrick and Harry Harrop.
Finally, it was not just people, adults or children, who hit the headlines, with the Mercury harnessed our love for animals by holding the ever-popular Pets on Parade contest.
The fun competition has always been a big hit with readers who send hundreds of pictures of their beloved pooches, pussy cats and all manner of other pets.
And it was Gizmo, the six month-old jack russell, whose cute look caught readers’ eyes.
Proud owner Lianne Foye said: “She goes everywhere with me and is so cute, I got everyone to vote!”