A CLUSTER of Bradford’s brightest stars were honoured at a glittering ceremony at City Hall tonight.

Unsung heroes from across the district got their well-deserved moment in the spotlight at the fourth Telegraph & Argus Community Stars Awards, organised in conjunction with Bradford Council.

The seven super winners were presented with a Bradford medal by the city’s Deputy Lady Mayoress, Elizabeth Smith.

Opening the awards, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Roger L’Amie, said: “Everyone here is outstanding, not only the winners, and they all deserve a really big thank-you.”

David Barnett, Content Editor of the Telegraph & Argus, said each of the nominees represented the “best of human nature”.

“After so many years doing the awards, we shouldn’t be surprised at the volume and quality of the nominations that come in, but we are – in a good way.

“It’s heartening and life-affirming to see that the people of the Bradford district are among the most community-minded and generous-spirited around.”

After nominations were whittled down to a shortlist of three in each of the six categories, thousands of T&A readers decided the winners, with twice as many votes cast as last year.

Imtiaz Naqvi, a founder member of the Bradford Association of Visually Impaired People, won the Volunteer award.

He also has voluntary roles with Bradnet, the Bradford Community and Care Alliance, Bradford Talking Media, and the Citizens Advice Bureau, and was described as “tireless” in his work for the community.

“I am delighted and honoured to receive the award,” he said.

“I would like to thank the T&A who have supported my campaigns since 1997, and I’m also thankful to all my family and friends.”

Tommy Barratt won the Good Neighbour award after being nominated for his work with the Eccleshill Mechanics Institute.

He coordinates a team of four people who make befriending visits to older men who are housebound.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “It is a wonderful surprise, which is probably why I’m speechless!

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted, and all those who support my befriending team.”

Kasam Hussain received the highest number of votes for the Young Active Citizen award.

He acts as a coach and mentor for the under-14 and under-16 teams at Alpha United Juniors Football Club in Bradford, and was described as a “shining light” at the club.

“I really surprised, I honestly didn’t expect it,” he said.

“I’m overwhelmed, and would just like to thank Alpha United and everyone who has given me the opportunity to be a coach.”

Here We Are, a women’s group who came together to encourage other women to gain a voice in public life using the vehicle of local radio and community projects, won the Community Group Award.

Group member Shamim Akhtar said: “We’re really surprised, we were up against some fantastic groups.

“To be honoured was a privilege, but to win is amazing. We’re just a group of mums who wanted to make a difference.”

Hilary White, chairman of Bradford Disability Sport and Leisure, won the award in the Fundraising category after 42 years of raising money for good causes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Winner Hilary White, recognised for her 42 years’ work, with David Barnett of the T&A and Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Roger L’Amie

The charity runs clubs, projects and activities to support around 400 disabled athletes across the district, and she is currently involved in raising money for Bradford athletes hoping to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles next year.

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted, and I’ve let you off tonight as I normally hold a raffle everywhere I go!” she said.

“This award is not for me, it’s for every disabled person across the district who has let me into their lives.”

Thaman Pun, president of the Bradford Nepali Community Association, was crowned winner of the Community Champion award.

Many members of the group, which includes a number of former Gurkhas, do not speak English, and he has made connections with existing community groups and Bradford Council to allow them to access the support they need.

“I’m delighted, just very happy,” he said. “This is just the beginning of expanding the society, and I hope to be able to continue that work.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to my family and friends, and everyone who voted for me.”

The last award of the evening was a new Outstanding Contribution accolade, dedicated to Dr Achhar Paul Dharni, awarded an MBE for his dedication and commitment to Bradford in 2009, who died in January this year.

The award was presented to Bradford Nightstop, which has provided temporary accommodation for homeless young people across the district for the past 21 years.

Project worker Corine Campbell said: “It is great to get this recognition, which is richly deserved for our 60 volunteers.

“They put in hundreds of hours and give a huge commitment, and getting just one young person off the street is a great achievement.”