LOCAL superstars who have gone above and beyond during the Covid pandemic were honoured during the Dorset Hero Awards.

Dorset Echo along with its sister Newsquest titles in the region launched a search for people in the county who deserve our thanks and recognition.

They were celebrated in a range of categories during an online ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Bill Browne, Editor and Chief, Newsquest Dorset, said: "It seems we have been reporting on the highs and lows of the pandemic on a daily basis for a very long time, but now with what we hope is a much brighter future in prospect it’s time to look back on all those who have played their part in keeping our spirits up and provided support during the last year-and-a-half.

"It has been our honour and privilege to hear such inspiring stories and I must thank all our judges for working so diligently through all the entries."

Falklands hero, Simon Weston CBE, was the VIP guest for the event and handed out the awards.

He spoke of the traumatic experience of a bomb hitting his ship - and the bravery of those who saved his life.

"I am so grateful to so many people," he said.

"Those on the ship, the Falklands nurses who are so rarely mentioned and the airman who comforted me on the 19 hours flight back to the UK.

"The heroes in my life are people you will have never heard of. And yet they mean so much to me that I have named my children after them.

"And that’s why these awards are so important. Because you hearing the names of people you have never heard of.

"Our doctors, nurses and other medics have never been tested as much as they have in these recent times. And we will probably never know the true debt we owe them

"We will thank and honour some who have saved lives and returned loved ones safely to their families. We also thank them for comforting the ones who never went home.

"At the same time, we know other keyworkers have played their role on the frontline. They have been important cogs in the community who have helped the medics and the 999 services to do what they do best.

"And then there are the other heroes who we find in every corner of our lives. People who also deserve the spotlight if only for one moment.

"And that’s what these awards are about."

Sir Christopher Lees, Chairman of principal awards sponsor Talbot Village Trust said: "I have been inspired, moved and humbled as I read the citations about our local heroes. Some have made us angry at the discovery of people who have been abandoned by society but not by you, and some have made us cry at the shear resilience of individuals.

"It has been a validation of the reason we, The Talbot Village Trust, helped in sponsoring these awards, which was our way to say thank you to the individual workers and volunteers with the charities within Dorset and the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch conurbation. To say thank you to those thousands of workers who kept on working through the pandemic for us, the shop and supermarket workers, the council workers and the cleaners and other staff in hospitals all of whom helped us through the pandemic.

"These awards have been about people who saw problems and ran towards them, about people who turned life's rotten hand into a force for good, about people within Dorset’s charities who enable their charity to function and about those people who live heroically."

The full list of award winners are:

  • Katie Parker, MYTIME - Hero of the Year
  • University Hospitals Dorset Theatre Team - Medical Heroes Healthcare Team
  • Victoria Tweedy, Dorset County Hospital - Individual Healthcare Professional
  • Simone Burne, Forest Holme Hospice - Medical Support
  • Andy Byers, Poole - 999 Award
  • Jamie Groves, Poole - Young Hero
  • Nancy Bastin, New Forest - In the Moment Award
  • Marley Keen, Poole - Best Fundraiser
  • David Wood, Poole - Unsung Heroes
  • Cassie Burtenshaw, St Ann's Hospital - Best Keyworker

Watch the video of the Dorset Hero awards here…