WHAT a tough task that was!
That was the message from the panel given the job of judging the Best of Wearside awards.
Not one of the judges found it easy, and that was because there were so many outstanding entries for this year’s competition.
The judges were Laura Reed, a communications assistant at housing company Gentoo; Michelle Brown, human resources manager for Wearside car parts firm Calsonic Kansei; and Gavin Foster, managing editor of Northeast Press, publisher of the Sunderland Echo.
At the end of a two-hour judging process, Michelle said: “It was very humbling. It has restored my faith in human nature.
“I found it difficult because all of the nominated people were worthy contenders.”
Laura agreed, saying: “It is nice to hear of the work that people do in the region and in the city. It is lovely to know that these things are going on within our communities.”
Gavin added: “It has been an absolute privilege to have been a part of this process and to hear of the fantastic work that people do, often selfless acts.
“It was almost impossible to choose the shortlists in each category, never mind the winners.”
“We want to say thank you to everyone who put forward their heroes and helped us to amass a fantastic field of entrants.
“For every contender who made it on to the shortlist, there were plenty more who were equally deserving.”
Now that the judges have met to decide which of the contest’s fantastic field will make it through to the shortlist, thoughts are turning to the finale of the competition.
Those still in the running are an impressive list of unsung heroes, as well as those already well known for proudly representing Wearside.
The awards, being held in association with Gentoo, will culminate at Sunderland Football Club’s Stadium of Light ground on Wednesday, and we will be there to capture the atmosphere and the occasion.
Make sure you continue to follow the Echo for full coverage of the awards night, including photographs and reaction from all of our winners.
The shortlist for the Best of Wearside awards will be revealed in tomorrow’s Echo.