THE BEST of the Stroud community were celebrated on Thursday night at an awards ceremony at the Stonehouse Court Hotel.

The Stroud News and Journal community awards were held to 'help shine a light on our region and its many, many success stories.'

Thirteen awards were given out to some of the most dedicated and hard-working people across the Stroud community.

Categories included teacher of the year, contribution to the arts and young person of the year.

Stephanie Preece, editor of the SNJ said on the night: "These awards shine a light on our region, its many, many success stories and all the wonderful things that are happening across Stroud and the Five Valleys.

"From businesses to charities, and schools to pubs, these awards seek to recognise those who go the extra mile to serve our communities.

"We hope these awards will give the people of Stroud and the surrounding villages a voice that is heard.

"Many of us truly appreciate the efforts of those who work tirelessly to help or serve others and who ensure our communities thrive and remain inclusive and positive places.

"These awards will be a fantastic opportunity for people to celebrate those individuals and organisations that make our region unique and special.

"We have loved reading the nominations and telling the stories of those people and groups that enrich the lives of those who live, work or visit our special corner of the world."

The full list of winners is as follows:

Best Customer Service - Share and Repair Stonehouse

Best Independent Business - Paul Westley Opticians

Contribution to the Arts - John Holland, Stroud Short Stories 

Best Community Project or Group - Amberley Shop & Cafe

Best Volunteer or Fundraiser - Andrew Blandford, Emmaus Gloucestershire 

Sports Team or Club - Minchinhampton RFC

Teacher of the Year - Nichala Gallivan 

Environmental Project - Stroud Valleys Project Ltd

Young Person of the Year - Nathan Sparkhall, Minchinhampton RFC

Diversity in the Community - Craig Johnson, Stroud Pride 

Care Hero of the Year - Nicola Priest, Horsfall House

Neighbour of the Year - Ashley and Lorraine Fudge

New Business of the Year - Good Food Kitchen & Bar

Pictures by Simon Pizzey