Honouring the county’s best at special awards ceremony

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One of Northumberland’s leading employers has renewed its lead sponsorship of a long-standing awards scheme that aims to honour the county’s unsung heroes.

North east property and energy firm the Banks Group is backing the 2014 Best of Northumberland Awards, formerly known as Pride of Northumberland, which celebrate the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people from right across the county.

The awards, which are now in their sixth year and organised by Northeast Press, encompass ten different categories and cover achievements by both individuals and groups, with people of all ages.

Categories range from student of the year, fundraiser of the year and sporting achievement through to community champion, green champion and role model.

Young people will be honoured through two awards – the child of achievement and child of courage.

Community group of the year and safer community categories complete the list.

The winners will be announced at a celebration dinner at The Alnwick Garden on Thursday, September 18, and nominations are now open.

The Banks Group currently employs more than 200 people at its two Northumberland surface mining sites, which contribute around £35million to the local economy every year, and has provided around £900,000 to the surrounding communities over the last decade alone.

It was also behind the creation of Northumberlandia, the world’s largest human landform, which has quickly become one of the county’s leading recreational sites and visitor attractions since its official opening by The Princess Royal in September in 2012.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “The Best of Northumberland Awards provides a fantastic platform to celebrate all the achievements of people and groups in this vibrant and diverse county, and we’re extremely pleased to once again be supporting them.

“As a major local employer, we’ve maintained strong relationships with communities across Northumberland for more than three decades, and we’re looking forward to hearing even more inspiring stories about the achievements of people living across the county.”

The awards are organised by Northeast Press, publishers of the News Post Leader, Morpeth Herald and Northumberland Gazette, and Tweeddale Press’ Berwick Advertiser.

Ian Arkle, editor of the News Post Leader, said: “The Best of Northumberland awards are one of the highlights of the year.

“The outstanding achievements of ordinary people never fail to astound me.

“There are stories of joy, achievement and sadness and I can guarantee there won’t be a dry eye in the house.”