This week saw the official launch of the eighth annual Ely Hero Awards.

The event, which took place on Monday April 15, was sponsored by Poets House Hotel and held within its writing room.

Business sponsors, judges and winners of last year’s awards gathered for a presentation to learn of the new and exciting aspects of this year’s event.

Mrs Sue Freestone, His Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, was the special guest of the evening and spoke to the guests about the support given to Ely Hero Awards by the Lieutenancy Office.

Mrs Freestone explained that the office represents His Majesty, King Charles within the county and will attend and support community events on his behalf.

She added that His Majesty King Charles enjoys hearing about the good things that happen within the communities of the country.

She also said that this support has given royal invites to many of Ely Hero Award winners.

The charity of the year was unveiled as Highfield Friends and Parents Association, a school in Ely that supports children with learning difficulties.

The PTA is raising money for a new sensory room within the school and Ely Hero Awards is very proud to be championing Highfield FPTA for the 2024 season.

An additional and rather emotional announcement was made to reveal that the 'smiliest server' category is being re-named in honour of Janet Eisold who was nominated following her passing last year.

Naomi Sherwood, Ely Hero Awards event organiser, said: "Janet was a familiar face in Waitrose, having worked in the store since 1992 when it originally opened.

"Janet was known by so many in the community, she always had a beautiful smile and a cheerful word for her customers.

"Her daughters Claire and Lisa have very kindly allowed Ely Hero Awards to remember her legacy in this way - a very fitting tribute to a wonderful lady."

Merv Jeffrey from Masters Logistical also spoke to the audience about their long-term sponsorship of the Ely Hero Awards.

“Sponsorship isn’t a one way street – it’s a partnership that I believe is build on shared goals.

"I love meeting the unsung heroes who have dedicated themselves to helping others, helping the community to thrive.

"I think we should all agree that Ely Heroes is a great thing to be associated with and is good for all.”

Another new addition this year will be an 'environmental champion' award sponsored by East Cambs District Council.

This award will be given to an individual or group who promotes practices relating to sustainability, encouraging effective resource use and implementing solutions and policies for a greener planet.

They may have committed to sustainable goals, such as reducing their carbon footprints and conserving resources and leading by example to help others to do the same.

"We will be looking for all green activities that have helped reduce emissions, cut waste, clean up or help to protect nature," said Naomi.

With 11 categories in which you can nominate a hero, you can place your nomination via the website to be considered for a Ely Hero Award.

Ely Standard: The launch event for the eighth annual Ely Hero Awards was held at Poets House Hotel on April 15.

Ely Standard: The launch event for the eighth annual Ely Hero Awards was held at Poets House Hotel on April 15.

Ely Standard: The launch event for the eighth annual Ely Hero Awards was held at Poets House Hotel on April 15.