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Wait almost over for our Great Big Thank You award finalists

By Heather Large | The Great Big Thank You Awards | Published:

The wait is almost finally over for our Great Big Thank You award finalists.

Last year's Great Big Thank You awards ceremony at Molineux

All eyes will be on the stage on Thursday as the award winners are crowned at a glittering ceremony at Molineux.

These unsung heroes have all been nominated for some extra recognition by our readers and we will be revealing who has won each of the eight categories on the night.

There are eight awards up for grabs in total: Ambassador of the Year, Young Star of the Year, Community Champions, Fresh Start Award, Fundraiser of the Year, Learner Award, Teacher of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Excitement is building for our finalists, their family and friends, our guests and celebrities to will all be attending the event at Molineux’s WV Suite.

There is a wealth of deserving people from incredible community champions to dedicated teachers, fundraisers and young stars who have been nominated for these special awards.

We asked you to tell us who was worthy of a ‘thank you’ and nominations came flooding in from across the region.

We were told about members of your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, people you see regularly and those you had heard about and found their stories inspirational.

You told us about learners who successfully overcame the obstacles in their way to achieve impressive exam results.

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Many of you were full of praise for ambassadors who really represent the best in their area.

While you also told us about those people who had managed to secure themselves a fresh start against all the odds.

At the beginning of September a panel of judges met to read through all of the nominations you had sent in to us.

They then decided who went through in each of the categories to the next round.

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Next a list of the chosen finalists, with a write-up about each of them, appeared in the Express & Star and on our website. Readers were then invited to vote for their favourite by collecting special tokens printed in the newspaper or voting online.

A total of 10,000 votes were received online across just five days, with 7,500 paper tokens sent to us over the entire campaign.

Those who got the most votes in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday.

Last year nominees enjoyed recognition as well as an evening with big names including Steve Bull MBE, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Connie Talbot, X Factor’s Joe Whelan, The Fizzogs, sports commentator Jacqui Oatley MBE and The Voice Star Megan Reece.

The winners were announced by compère for the evening, Alan Dedicoat, known as the National Lottery’s Voice of the Balls, and also for his work on Strictly Come Dancing.

Hundreds of individuals applied last year and nine winners walked away with an awards and a night to remember.

The finalists came from all backgrounds and ages – and even a man with his dog won the Ambassador of the Year award.

Greg Hedges and the Staffordshire Regiment Association’s mascot Watchman V walked away with this title after impressing the judges.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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