Suffolk: It’s time to salute the brave and the selfless

THEY are the shining lights of our community.

Every year ordinary residents in the county are recognised for their extraordinary acts of bravery, dedication and courage at the Stars of Suffolk awards.

From the dedication of the emergency services, to people fighting life-threatening illnesses, Suffolk is filled with an array of unsung heroes, and those that attend the annual ceremony are moved to tears each year as their tales are told.

Today, the 2012 awards, supported by the Ipswich Star and other partners, are being officially launched to celebrate our heroes and bring their stories into the spotlight.

More than 300 nominations were sent in last year, and for Mick Parker, one of the organisers and founders of Stars of Suffolk, it is not only a chance to recognise our community stalwarts, but to reward them as well.

He said: “These awards have a very special place in my heart because they are received by people who don’t think they deserve to be recognised.

“They are the real heroes of our community and we have a fantastic night. It’s a very emotional and heart-warming evening.”

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The awards have become a firm fixture in the calendar and winners in the past have included Mason Fountain, a young boy who is fighting a brain tumour and Pc Steve Jay and his trusty police dog, German Shepherd Aman, who were both injured in the line of duty.

Editor of the Ipswich Star, Nigel Pickover, added: “It is incredibly important to us.

“It’s a special event because we celebrate all those people who don’t normally get celebrated. It is something they will cherish forever.”

The closing date for nominations for the awards is on November 1 and the ceremony is due to take place on November 23.

Nomination forms will soon be available and can be picked up from schools, libraries, council offices and community centres – a website will be set up soon for online applications.

n Have you got a heart-warming story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to