First for Local Heroes Awards as Kat Copeland and Josef Craig share main honour

The Northern Echo: Kat Copeland with Josef Craig Pic: Tom Banks Kat Copeland with Josef Craig Pic: Tom Banks

GOLD medallists Kat Copeland and Josef Craig were tonight crowned the first double winners at The Northern Echos Local Heroes Awards.

Click here to see details of all the winners from the awards

It is the first time in the history of the prestigious 13-year-old event that the overall award has gone to two people.

But the judges were unable to split Kat, who won an Olympic rowing gold in the summer, and 15-year-old Josef, who won the 400 metres freestyle at the Paralympics.

Kat, 21, who spent most of her life in Ingleby Barwick, but now lives in Stokesley, won Olympic gold in the double sculls with partner Sophie Hosking.

Josef, from Jarrow, South Tyneside, was Britain's youngest gold medallist in the Olympics or Paralympics.

The joint overall award was the highlight of the glittering event which saw nearly 1,000 people gather in a marquee at Hardwick Hall Hotel, near Sedgefield.

The Local Heroes Awards were established to recognise the talent and dedication of the stars of grass roots sport in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

This year, thanks to a new partnership with County Durham Community Foundation, the event raised £10,000 for the charity Future Sport, which hands out grants to children seeking to make their way in a wide range of sports.

Under Kat Copeland's tough coaching, former Middlesbrough footballer Craig Hignett and BBC Tees commentator Alistair Brownlee were tasked with completing a course on a simulated Concept2 rowing machine in order to guarantee the charity donation.

The event was compered by Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo.

The winners were:

Remarkable Achievement (Senior), sponsored by Northumbrian Water: Rosie Pybus.

Sporting Excellence (Senior), sponsored by Darlington Building Society: Kat Copeland.

Sir Bobby Robson Leading Light, sponsored by Virgin Money: Barbara Borwell.

Unsung Hero, sponsored by BMI Woodland: Leo Taylor.

Senior Club of the Year, sponsored by Tees Active: Deerness Gymnastics Academy.

Remarkable Achievement (Junior), sponsored by Tees Barrage: Karina Bean.

Sporting Excellence (Junior), in partnership with County Durham Community Foundation: Josef Craig.

Most Promising New Talent, sponsored by Recognition PR: Sophie Ward.

Junior Team Or Club of the Year, sponsored by Durham Gate: Louisa Allstars Trampoline Club.

Outstanding Performance of the Year, sponsored by Teesside University: Steven Taylor.

Overall Local Heroes of 2012: Kat Copeland and Josef Craig.

* Dont miss Saturdays Local Heroes pull-out for a souvenir supplement on the event.

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