INSPIRATIONAL youngsters have been honoured at a spectacular awards evening.

The Peterlee Young Heroes Awards, now in its second year, highlighted remarkable stories of courage, kindness and integrity in a recent ceremony at Shotton Hall hosted by Durham Constabulary.

Among the winners were youngsters who had selflessly given up their time for others, battled hardship and illness, and turned their behaviour around to give something back to their community.

The awards scheme, which runs throughout the year, aims to put the spotlight on the positive community contributions made by under-18s, which are often overshadowed by stories of anti-social behaviour and crime.

Inspector Emma Kay, from Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team and host of the event, said: “Nobody asked these young people to do what they did or to go out of their way to care for other people.

“These are individuals who do these things because they really care, and because they have those values instilled in them.”

At the ceremony were representatives from Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council, Peterlee Town Council, agencies and businesses who have contributed to the ongoing success of the Young Heroes scheme.

Video messages came from famous faces including football captains Steph Houghton and George Honeyman, X Factor finalist Molly Scott, boxer Anthony Hardy, and Minister for Policing and Fire Nick Hurd.

Also in attendance were the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon, MP for Easington Grahame Morris, local businesswoman Heather Mills, who has recently acquired the former Walkers Crisps factory in Peterlee, and reformed offender Shaun Morton, who offered words of advice based on his experiences.

Those who won awards were: Olivia Ward, who brought another young person to a place of safety after they took seriously ill; Charlie Hepple, who raised £1,400 for an asthma charity by holding a bake sale in his village; Nathan Sergeant, who showed great bravery in his battle through serious illness; Georgia Cornforth, who raised money and donated 10 inches of her hair to the Princess Trust; Cameron Bains, who, after being involved in anti-social behaviour in the town, has gone on to take a leading role in various community initiatives; Amber Mason, who volunteers her time as a sports coach at Peterlee Pavilion; Lewis Pearn, who offered valuable assistance to two town councillors after they were involved in a car accident; Aaron Turner, who gave up his Christmas Day to help out at his local food bank; Alfie Dixon Clarke, who set up a homework club for his fellow school pupils who were stressed due to schoolwork; Jessica Combes, who bravely asked for support when she needed it the most.

Councillor Scott Meikle, Mayor of Peterlee, said: “It’s important for us to celebrate all the good things that the youth are doing in Peterlee.

“Peterlee often gets a bad press, but nights like this show that not all kids are the same.”