THE founder of a junior football club that has helped thousands of youngsters enjoy the beautiful game was among the winners at a ceremony celebrating Darlington’s community heroes.

Hundreds of people attended the Best of Darlington Awards 2013, which were presented in a lavish ceremony at Darlington College on Friday (March 22) evening.

Dave Scott, founder of Darlington Spraire Lads and Lasses FC, was named the town’s citizen of the year, as well as winning the award for best contribution to sport.

James Charlton, who played a leading role in fundraising for Darlington FC when it was in administration last year and continued to be involved following the fans’ takeover of the club, won the young citizen of the year award.

A special awards was also presented to the police officers and court staff who rushed to the aid of Darlington man Robert Hume, who suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his car near Darlington Magistrates’ Court late last year.

Entertainment was provided by local band Silent Houses and dancer Anna Reed, while Iranian-born soprano Sanaz Niknam closed the show.

The 35-year-old is exiled from her home country, where religious restrictions mean women are banned from singing in front of men.

Among the dignitaries at the event were Darlington mayor Paul Baldwin, the town’s MP Jenny Chapman and last year’s citizen of the year, Roddy Francis.

  •  See The Northern Echo on Wednesday (March 27) for a supplement featuring a full report, pictures and details of all the winners.