SUCCESS, commitment and community spirit were all celebrated during Basingstoke's third A Place to be Proud of Awards ceremony.

Individuals and organisations who have made a real difference in various aspects of community life in Basingstoke and Deane were honoured during the event, which was again held in the award-winning Festival Place shopping centre.

The awards, which were first held in 2004, put the spotlight on local achievement and raise the profile of Basingstoke and Deane as a place to be proud of.

For the third year running, the driving forces behind the event were Gazette Newspapers, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Festival Place and the Local Strategic Partnership.

Local businesses and organisations once again got behind the event, with category sponsorship this year coming from Clydesdale Bank, Eli Lilly, Lenovo, Wella Professionals, Hampshire Constabulary, Basingstoke Andover North Hampshire Industrial Mission and Sentinel Housing Group, as well as Gazette Newspapers and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. Basingstoke College of Technology also supported the event by hosting the awards launch last September.

Representatives from the sponsors, their guests and civic leaders joined the nominees and their nominators for the awards finale, which took place on Sunday, July 16, and was hosted by popular television and BBC Radio Berkshire presenter Maggie Philbin.

Jane Stewart, marketing manager at Festival Place, told the awards audience: "The A Place to be Proud of Awards are about showing what Basingstoke and Deane has to offer. They give us a chance to thank the people who make the borough a great place to live, work and do business in."