All smiles as we say thanks to heroes
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.’
n See The News each day this week for an in-depth look at all the category winners.
Winner: Lord Montgomery Way
Runner-up: Fratton Road
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
Runner-up: SSE Havant
Winner: David Williamson
Runner-up: Steve Bonnick
Winner: Shaun Coughlan
Runner-up: Les and Lyn Heyhoe
Service with a Smile
Winner: Aqua Cars
Runner-up: Jane Hall
Winner: Fernhurst Junior School
Runner-up: Mengham Park
Care of the Environment
Winner: Marine Conservation Society
Runner-up: Clanfield Online