All smiles as we say thanks to our We Can Do It awards heroes

Back left, Justine Jones from PHVC Minibus presents the Best School Award to winners Mengham Infants School

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3845)

Back left, Justine Jones from PHVC Minibus presents the Best School Award to winners Mengham Infants School Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3845)

Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron visited the Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth on Tuesday    

Picture: Sarah Standing (170607-8029)

Tim Farron criticises potential Portsmouth school funding cuts during visit

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Heart-warming stories lit up the stage at The News’ We Can Do It awards.

Hundreds of families and groups gathered at the New Theatre Royal, in Portsmouth, to celebrate the people who make a difference to their communities.

Linzi Stean from Colas presents the Care of the Environment Award to Southsea's Marine Conservation Society 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3826)

Linzi Stean from Colas presents the Care of the Environment Award to Southsea's Marine Conservation Society Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3826)

From people taking on physical challenges to groups thinking green and caring for the environment, the awards say thank you to those who go the extra mile for nothing in return.

As in previous years, the awards had some fantastic entertainment including dance troupe Abstract Dance and Performing Arts.

The group, which has performed at numerous events in Portsmouth, wowed the crowd with its routines including one to a medley of well-known festive tunes such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

The audience was also impressed by The News’ Instant Star winner Paige Brooker.

Best Garden was won by Fernhurst Junior School Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-104)

Best Garden was won by Fernhurst Junior School Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-104)

The 16-year-old, who has recently started studying musical theatre at Chichester College, stunned the theatre with two songs including Katy Perry’s Firework.

Despite feeling a little nervous before heading on stage, Paige entertained the audience with many singing along with her.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said he was impressed with the nominees and their amazing stories.

‘It was a fantastic afternoon where we were able to say thank you to the people who work hard in the community,’ he said.

Best Business Award Winner, Amey Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-043)

Best Business Award Winner, Amey Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-043)

‘It was great to hear their wonderful stories from youngsters raising money to neighbours who have come together.

‘The We Can Do It awards are important because they highlight the volunteers who do so much and the people and organisations who go that extra mile.

‘It was good to see the nominees at the show supported by friends and families, cheering them on.’

The We Can Do It awards have 10 categories, which range from Best Business and Best Garden to Spirit of Youth.

Editor of The News, Portsmouth Mark Waldron presents the Best Volunteer Award to Shaun Coughlan

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3795)

Editor of The News, Portsmouth Mark Waldron presents the Best Volunteer Award to Shaun Coughlan Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3795)

With six deserving nominees short-listed for each category, the judges had a tough time picking just one winner and one runner-up.

People from across the area and of all ages walked away with a trophy including 68-year-old Shaun Coughlan, from Waterlooville. He won Best Volunteer for the help he gives his elderly neighbours.

Others acknowledged included Mengham Infants School, from Hayling Island, which brought 27 of its pupils to pick up the Best School award and Amey, which came out on top for Best Business.

Colas was the headline sponsors for the awards and helped with judging.

It joined other sponsors PHVC, Airbus and New Theatre Royal.

Linzi Stean, community representative for Colas’ Portsmouth depot, says: ‘We have a community ethos within Colas so supporting these awards that recognise people doing good things in their community is something we’re very proud of.’

Linzi Stean from Colas, left, presents the Best Street Award to winners Lord Montgomery Way in Portsmouth 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3863)

Linzi Stean from Colas, left, presents the Best Street Award to winners Lord Montgomery Way in Portsmouth Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3863)

n See The News each day this week for an in-depth look at all the category winners.

THE WINNERS

Best Street

Winner: Lord Montgomery Way

Runner-up: Fratton Road

Best School

Winner: Mengham Infants

Runner-up: Northern Parade Junior

Best Art/Community Project

Winner: Daniel Williams

Runner-up: HMS Sultan

Spirit of Youth

Winner: Maisie Hymers

Runner-up: Olly Banachowicz

Best Business

Winner: Amey

Runner-up: SSE Havant

Personal Achievement

Winner: David Williamson

Runner-up: Steve Bonnick

Best Volunteer

Winner: Shaun Coughlan

Runner-up: Les and Lyn Heyhoe

Service with a Smile

Winner: Aqua Cars

Runner-up: Jane Hall

Best Garden

Winner: Fernhurst Junior School

Runner-up: Mengham Park

Care of the Environment

Winner: Marine Conservation Society

Runner-up: Clanfield Online

The Abstract Dance and Performing Arts caught mid flight during one of their routines Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-090)

The Abstract Dance and Performing Arts caught mid flight during one of their routines Picture: Keith Woodland (161585-090)

Instant Star winner Paige Brooker, who performed at the awards.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-7290)

Instant Star winner Paige Brooker, who performed at the awards. Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-7290)

Aled Price from the New Theatre Royal, left, presents the Best Art or Community Project to Daniel Williams 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3815)

Aled Price from the New Theatre Royal, left, presents the Best Art or Community Project to Daniel Williams Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3815)

Aled Price from the New Theatre Royal presents the runners-up for the Best Art or Community Project Award to The Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School at HMS Sultan.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3811)

Aled Price from the New Theatre Royal presents the runners-up for the Best Art or Community Project Award to The Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School at HMS Sultan. Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3811)

Editor of The News MArk Waldron presents the Spirit of Youth Award runner-up to Olly Banachowicz.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3875)

Editor of The News MArk Waldron presents the Spirit of Youth Award runner-up to Olly Banachowicz. Picture: Sarah Standing (161597-3875)

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