There was a buzz in the air in Banbury as the community gathered to celebrate the achievements of inspirational volunteers and groups.
The ceremony, which was compèred by Councillor Andrew McHugh, saw winners scoop awards in five categories: Most Innovative Group, Lifetime Volunteer, Volunteer of the Year, Good Neighbour and Young Volunteer.
Most Innovative Group was awarded to Grassroots, who promote reducing, re-using and recycling waste.
The Lifetime Volunteer award went to Stewart Green, who has volunteered for many causes over the years including Radio Horton and Puritans Radio.
Volunteer of the Year was awarded to 82-year-old Gordon Round (pictured below), who tirelessly volunteers for Age UK and Forget Me Not Lunch Club in Bicester.
Lorraine Mould won the Good Neighbour award, after stepping up to help a neighbour with health problems.
The Young Volunteer award was presented to Callum West, 15, who gives up his time to help at Bicester Tennis Club. He is also the healthy schools ambassador at Bicester School.
Winners were given the opportunity to select a local community group to receive £100.
Wooden trophies made by local charity Restore were also given to finalists, engraved with the words ‘Love Where You Live’ as a memento of the night and their achievements. There was also entertainment from Rusty Musicians and a photo booth.
Sanctuary’s head of neighbourhood partnerships, Alison Kenny, said: “It was a positive, inspiring and touching evening full of smiles, applause and a few tears!
“The Cherwell community was bursting with pride.”
Councillor Andrew McHugh commented: “Volunteers are at the heart of our communities. They are real local heroes transforming people’s lives - including their own.
“They are helping to build and improve communities, one person at a time. I am humbled by the great work the volunteers are doing.
“This was a good opportunity to make sure that they get the recognition they deserve.”
This project was part-funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.
Full list of awards:
Most Innovative Group, Winner: Grassroots; Runner-up: Banbury Soup and Forget Me Not Lunch Club.
Lifetime Volunteer, Winner: Stewart Green; Runner-up: Peter and Joyce Lake, and Steve Willott.
Volunteer of the Year, Winner: Gordon Round; Runner-up: Mark Chivers and Katie Dyer.
Good Neighbour, Winner: Lorraine Mould; Runner-up: Kate Wood and Julie Pryor.
Young Volunteer, Winner: Callum West; Runner-up: Ellie Smith.