BIG-hearted volunteers from across Dudley borough were rewarded for their hard work at a prestigious ceremony at Brierley Hill Civic Hall.

Almost 300 people watched as dozens of individuals and groups were named winners at the 13th Dudley Volunteer Awards.

Hosted by Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, the ceremony saw presentations in nine categories from civic, business and community leaders.

The ‘Business Supporting the Community Award’ was won by Geoff Hill, owner of Geoff Hill Electrical Superstore in Amblecote, while the ‘Community Action Award’ was shared between Geoff Woodford, a long-serving volunteer with Midlands Air Ambulance, and the Storehouse Volunteer Team from Brierley Hill.

The ‘Healthy Communities Award’ was won by the eighty volunteers who form the White House Cancer Support Volunteer Team, based in Dudley town centre, with Martin Jones, a volunteer at Dudley Archives Service, being presented with the ‘Arts & Heritage Award’.

The panel of judges decided the ‘Wellbeing Award’ would be given to both an individual and group, with Jon Mansell, who runs a weekly Halesowen drop-in support group called Ex Boozehounds, sharing the award with Woodside Crafts, which supports people with mental health and learning disabilities.

Abi Weake collected the ‘Sporting Champion Award’ for almost singlehandedly turning around the fortunes of the junior section of the Grasshoppers Netball Club, based in Cradley Heath, while the ‘Children & Families Award’ went to the What? Centre Volunteering Team, in Halesowen, for providing free counselling services for young people.

Two teenage boys – Tom Roberts and Oliver Nicholls – shared the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year Award’, and the final award of the night, the ‘Gordon Lindsay Award’ for long service to voluntary work, was presented to Alan Hallman, who has given his time to the Black Country Museum for the last 45 years.

The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Steve Waltho, closed proceedings by saying: “The Dudley CVS Volunteer Awards are Dudley’s flagship annual event, perhaps we should call them ‘Pride of Dudley’.

“Political parties of all colours who may neglect the value of volunteering do so at their peril. Volunteering is the glue that holds our country together.”