CRIMEFIGHTERS from the community have been given recognition for making the streets where they live safe.
People across County Durham were invited to nominate those who strived to make their city, towns and villages better places to be as Durham Police Authority launched its annual awards.
The ceremony, held at Ramside Hall, saw titles given out to winners in six categories, in front of an audience including those who nominated them, sponsors, police and other community organisations.
Among the winners were Pat and John Barnett, of Horden Colliery Residents’ Association, who scooped one of the awards for “serving”, with Pat also picking up a second title for dedication.
Pat said: “It was a good night and I was delighted, but I was a bit embarrassed and surprised.
“People ask us why we do it, but we say it’s because we can. We’ve had a good education, we’re retired, don’t have any problems in particular, and that’s why we help.”
Among the projects the couple have worked on has been a youth cafe, improvements and street clear-ups and an ongoing revamp to St Mary’s Church Hall, which is rented out by the association.
Other winners included the KK2 Volunteer Group, from Chester-le-Street, which works with people with learning disabilities, and won a caring award.
Durham Street Lights, who are a group of volunteers who help those in need on the city’s streets at night, and Mark Gilbank, chairman of Durham’s Shop Watch scheme, who both collected serving awards.
Neighbourhood Watch member Evelyn Smith, of Denside, Seaham, won an ward for dedication and efforts to pass on crime prevention advice and runs coffee mornings.
Police Community Support Officer Carole Hutton, who nominated her, said: “All this is done by a caring and compassionate lady with a genuine concern for friends and the community. If only we all had Evelyn’s energy and level of dedication.”
Joan Bailey was also presented with an award in the same section for her volunteering, which includes work with the East Durham Partnership, Howletch Over-60s Club and youth groups.
Peter Thompson, chairman of the authority, said: “The Community Awards were launched so that ordinary members of the public who go above and beyond what is expected of them, could be recognised and thanked for the work that they do within their communities.
“I am delighted with the tremendous response we have had, which also demonstrates the public appetite for rewarding community heroes.”