“THE best night of the year”. That’s how chair of the Pride of Andover committee, Karen Hamilton described the town’s annual awards ceremony, which celebrates some of the very best Andoverians.

Held this year at The Lights on Tuesday, October 26, after a year off due to Covid, the 15th annual Pride of Andover event was hosted by Martin Starke, of Greatest Hits Radio, and author and presenter Jordan Wylie.

Jordan told the Advertiser is was an “honour” to be a part of the event, adding: “My job is easy, I just get to talk to absolutely inspiring people. I have always tried to surround myself with people who inspire me, and there’s not better place than here tonight."

Following a delicious buffet meal, the awards presentation began, with eleven categories covering a range of different areas of society, and the competition so tight that in many cases a highly commended award as well as the winner was announced.

Speaking after the event, Karen Hamilton said: “I am so proud of the community. We couldn’t do this without the support of local businesses, who love to deliver for the town. Just seeing the joy and listening to the stories, as a committee we don't do the judging alone, but with our category sponsors, and I can tell you it was so hard on judging day!

“Every year that we’ve run this has been just as good as the previous one, but I think we have had extra stories around Covid this year and what I think is great is people delivering the message of ‘We are here, you don't need to struggle alone’. And I think that’s a fantastic message.”

The worth winners were as follows:

Fundraising Award

Highly Commended: Rick Smart

Winner: Kevin Rush

Community Champion Award

Highly Commended: Andover Advocates

Winner: The Andover Isolation Group

Sports Award

High Commended: Ayden Knight

Winner: Adam Phillips

Inspiring Others Award

Highly Commended: Paige Seddon and Coral Lewington

Winner: Dani Lou Kiely

Young Person of the Year Award

Highly Commended: Dylan Lintern

Winner: Dmitrijs Meiksans

Services Award

Highly Commended: Charlotte Birmingham

Winner: Chrissi Kelly

Arts Award

Highly Commended: Clare Oliver

Winner: Louise Vincent

Heart of Gold Award

Highly Commended: Nicky Bates

Winner: Kelly Hull

Sue Shepherd Award

Winner: Paul Williams

Mayor’s Choice Award

Winner: Tania Hall

Spirit of Andover Award

Winner: Kevin Rush