Could you become a community champion like Ronald?

Last year's Community Champion award winner Ronald Barrass.
Last year's Community Champion award winner Ronald Barrass.
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Community champion Ronald Barrass will never forget the night he collected an Echo award.

And as he looked back on last year’s Best of Wearside competition with fondness, he urged people to enter this year’s competition.

The man who was hailed as “a valued member of society” by readers won our Community Champion category.

Judges heard how he organises litter-picks on his housing estate, inspires local residents to get involved and take a pride in where they live, and attends Sunderland City Council meetings to keep him updated of any decisions that relate to his community to ensure they meet the needs of the local people.

A year on, Ronald (pictured) is still supporting local causes and making a difference to the Wearside community.

He remembered the night of the awards as “a wonderful occasion” and said: “There were wonderful people there and I was shocked when I won.”

Ronald joked: “I have been in the Armed Forces. I have been shot at but I was more scared when I had to get on that stage to get my trophy.”

But for Ronald, it was a night which he loved and which he described as “enjoyable.

“I would definitely encourage people to enter this year’s competition.”

The nomination for Ronald last year said: “He is always willing to assist anyone in need and will go the extra mile to benefit his community.”

Ronald was a winner. Perhaps you can be too.

Perhaps it’s the unassuming next door neighbour who spends their spare time making a difference in their community - just like Ronald.

Or it may be the reluctant hero who has risked their own safety to help others. Or it could be the courageous person who has spent their life tackling illness with dignity and bravery.

We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards. Tell us all about them.

The awards will culminate in a grand finale at the Stadium of Light in November. For now, though, we want you to get in touch with your very own heroes. Fill in the nomination form on this page or visit