STALWARTS of Darlington’s volunteering community were rewarded for their dedication at a glittering awards ceremony.

The eVOLution Excellence Awards were held at the Kings Head Hotel tonight (Thursday, November 8) and saw a host of groups and individuals recognised for their community work.

It is was the ninth annual volunteer awards and the big winners of the night were James Charlton who walked away with the Young Volunteer of the Year Award and Gill Jackson who won the over 25s Volunteer of the Year Award.

Mr Charlton was given the award for his tireless involvement in the rebirth of Darlington Football Club (DFC).

Nominating him, Denis Pinnegar, of DFC, said Mr Charlton had been “instrumental” helping the club progress and that he consistently volunteered to be a match day steward and helped with administrative tasks for the club’s retail outlet.

Adult Volunteer of the Year Ms Jackson was rewarded for her work with crime victims.

Since 2008 she has given emotional support and practical help to victims, and her nominator, Sandra Haydon said despite her modesty, Ms Jackson’s expertise was “highly valued and appreciated”.

The Northern Echo’s editor Peter Barron received the award for Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership for his work in setting up the Darlington Foundation for Jobs.

Presenting him with the award, executive director of eVOLution Karen Grundy said: “Peter exemplifies that admirable trait of when you see something wrong and you can do something about it; don’t talk about it, just do it.”

Business of the Year went to Darlington Borough Council and the Student Loan Company, while Darlington Link scooped the Compact Advancing Equality Award given to companies who make an extra effort to eliminate discrimination and promote equality.

David Plews, who has been Darlington Orchestra’s conductor since 1994, scooped the Outstanding Leadership Award for his dedication to helping local amateur musicians, while The Kings Church Furniture scheme on Whessoe Road won the Community Group Award for their work providing furniture to poorer Darlington residents.

Lesley Gillespie, who has been chair of Darlington Mind for seven years, was given the Trustee of the Year Award and Diane Owen won the Eric Lodge Award for Outstanding Commitment to Volunteering in recognition for her work in a voluntary mentoring scheme.