UNSUNG heroes who have gone the extra mile to keep their communities safe were honoured at an awards ceremony last night.

Residents who have stood up against criminals or antisocial behaviour and groups who have worked tirelessly to make community life better were among those to receive awards at Ramside Hall Hotel, in Durham City.

The Northern Echo: Winners at Durham Police Authority's Community Awards Scheme.CELEBRATING WORK: The winners at last night's ceremony

Durham Police Authority’s Community Awards Scheme, backed by The Northern Echo, was launched in the summer to thank members of the public who have shown how much they care for their communities.

Among those whose heroism was put in the spotlight last night was Aimee Yule, whose bravery in halting a brutal street attack in Darlington made national headlines.

The 22-year-old taxi controller stepped in to save stranger Jason Waters from a savage beating at the hands of two attackers.

Miss Yule said: “I am so happy to have won this award.

It is great to be recognised again for stepping in to help Jason.

“At the time, I did not think I was being particularly brave, I just thought that somebody had to do something or that lad would have died. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

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Community Award Winners

THE community awards winners were:

CARING: Jenny Sanderson, Coundon; Kim Baird, Darlington; Sedgefield Locality Carers; Lynne Hinde, Darlington; and the KK2 volunteers, Chester-le- Street.

SERVING: Durham Street Lights group, Durham City; John and Pat Barnett, Horden; Peter and Gladys Stubbs, Barnard Castle; Mark Gilbank, Durham City; and Harold Wilsher, Billy Row.

VOLUNTEERING: Geoff Darkes, Spennymoor; Eddie Stringer, Burnopfield; Daniel Darnton, Darlington; Sajna Miah, Darlington; and Alex Doyle, Barnard Castle.

ACHIEVING: Shildon Community Safety Group, Shildon; West Auckland Neighborhood Watch; Olga Bradley, Bearpark; and Anti- Social Behaviour Working Group, Ferryhill.

COURAGE: Aimee Yule, Darlington; Paul Henry, Darlington; and Mark Bell and Alan Hawkey, Stanley. Three winners asked to remain anonymous.

DEDICATION: John Dixon, Crookhall; Joan Bailey, Peterlee; Pat Barnett, Horden; Evelyn Smith, Seaham; and Dorothy Bowman, Newton Aycliffe.

Also honoured was the Durham Street Lights project, a Christian group launched last year to help late-night revellers in Durham City; John Dixon, secretary of the Crookhall Foundation, who has spent nearly 20 years trying to maintain community spirit in his village, near Consett, through sport and heritage projects and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Harold Wilsher, from Billy Row, who has spent 11 years helping the fight against crime in County Durham.

Twenty-nine awards were made in six categories: caring, serving, volunteering, achieving, courage and dedication, with all winners nominated by the public.

Peter Thompson, the chairman of Durham Police Authority, said: “The Community Awards were launched so that ordinary members of the public who go above and beyond what is expected of them could be recognised and thanked for the work that they do within their communities.

“I am delighted with the tremendous response we have had, which also demonstrates the public appetite for rewarding community heroes.”

Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon, one of the five-strong judging panel, said: “Engaging with local people is at the heart of what we do, which is why Darlington Borough Council is pleased to be supporting these awards.

“There is a lot of good work that goes on in the Darlington area by ordinary people who care about keeping their communities safe, many of whom have been recognised for their contribution and have received a community award.”