Sunderland stars and manager Sam Allardyce heard heart-warming tales of achievement at the Foundation of Light’s Top Scorer awards event.
The celebration, held at the Stadium of Light, heralds the work of young people, families, adults and volunteers who are involved in the foundation’s work.
A total of 14 gongs were handed out to worthy winners, among them Shelby Gray, from Millfield.
The 37-year-old scooped the Improved Health Award from Fabio Borini after shedding 5st thanks to help from the foundation’s Family Learning Programme.
She has also battled problems such as anxiety.
“I had very low self-esteem when I started getting involved, but now I’m full of confidence,” said Shelby, who took up running to get in shape.
“The foundation’s been brilliant for me.”
Also handing out awards were club captain John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul, Patrick van Aanholt, Jan Kirchhoff and Vito Mannone.
Ireland international John said: “The foundation is a really special part of the club and at times the work of the people is probably unrecognised.
“We’ve heard some really heart-warming tales of how people have overcome adversity, health issues and other problems.
“The players always look forward to meeting up with the people who’ve done so well.”