"I THINK we've been left in no doubt tonight that Basingstoke is a town and borough where there are plenty of people and organisations to be proud of."

Those were the words of Gazette Newspapers editor Mark Jones as he rounded off the A Place to be Proud of Awards for 2006.

Mr Jones told the audience that it was great to see the event continuing to go from strength to strength.

He said: "The aim of the awards, when they were conceived in 2003, was to put the spotlight on the people and organisations who have made a difference to the town and borough - those who have played their part in making the town and borough of Basingstoke a place to be proud of.

"The standard of entries across the 2006 categories was excellent - the judges had a really tough time picking a winner in several categories.

"And although not every nominee can win an award, all the nominees are winners because they have all made a telling contribution to community life in Basingstoke and Deane."

Mr Jones added: "Congratulations must also go to all the nominators because without them taking the time to make their nominations, we would not be able to put the spotlight on the well-deserved individual and collective successes that we are celebrating, and honouring, tonight."

On behalf of the event organisers, Mr Jones thanked Maggie Philbin for being an excellent host of the awards, and also thanked the sponsors for their all-important support for the event.