FROM charity champs to children of courage, the Sunderland Echo Pride of Wearside awards is the chance to sing the city’s successes from the rooftops.
Now in its sixth year, the awards unearth the great and good of Sunderland, ordinary people who do the extraordinary to better their lives and improve the communities in which we live.
And we need YOUR help to make this year’s awards the biggest and best yet by putting pen to paper and sending in nominations.
The winners will be honoured at a glittering awards ceremony at the Stadium of Light on November 23.
CLICK HERE TO ENTER PRIDE OF WEARSIDE 2011.
Among those to be honoured last year was Humbledon youngster Megan Forrest, who picked up a Child of Courage award.
In her eight years she’s been through more adversity than most adults will face in a lifetime.
At 18 months old, she was diagnosed with dwarfism which affects her spine, joints and growth and she has undergone numerous operations to improve her life.
Last year, after having a painful bone graft that left her in traction for 21 days, Megan was forced to wear a metal halo to support her head and force her neck to work.
But now her family have been given the news that the operation was a success and she does not need to have any more surgery on her neck.
It means the youngster can get on with normal school life at Thorney Close Primary School.
Mum Louise, 28, said that after everything Megan’s been through, last year’s Pride of Wearside ceremony was a night to remember.
“It was a great night, I was so proud of her,” she said. “She got to meet Darren Bent and Craig Gordon and have her photo taken with them. She’s a Sunderland fan so it was extra special to meet them – she wasn’t happy when Darren left the club though.”
Megan’s award now takes pride of place in a display cabinet at her home.
Louise said: “These awards are such a good idea. There is a lot of focus on celebrities who are awarded knighthoods and other awards, but there are lots of other people out there who do loads of good work for their community and help their neighbours.
“They don’t do it because they want recognition or for people to notice them, but it’s important that as a community we recognise what they do.”
Echo editor Rob Lawson, one of the awards judges, said: “Pride of Wearside is a really important event for Sunderland as it gives us the chance as a city to celebrate some really extraordinary, courageous and inspiring people.
“I hope as many readers as possible take part, nominate, and give our heroes the recognition they deserve.”
Forms will also be available in our offices in Pennywell, Seaham and Sunderland City Centre. Entries need to be received by November 1.