Local heroes were honoured at an award ceremony full of laughter, fun and a few emotional tears on Friday night for the 2018 Provost’s Civic Awards.

The accolades reward West Dunbartonshire residents who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their community, ranging from dedicated volunteers and fundraisers to talented arts, culture and sporting achievers.

All the deserving nominees donned their glad rags and gathered at Clydebank Town Hall to celebrate the power of community whilst also enjoying a three-course meal and ceremony, guided by host, actress Gayle Telfer Stevens.

Big winners on the night from Dumbarton and the Vale included this year’s youngest nominees.

Dana Louise Dolan, 12, from Dumbarton, was crowned Arts and Culture Champion for her achievements in Highland dancing. The Fiona MacNeil School of Dance pupil began dancing aged three, and currently holds the Scottish National Champion title (Cowal) amongst other world and national titles.

Bonhill Primary School pupil Harry Crossan, eight, brought a tear to the crowd’s eye as he was named Youth Champion for saving his little sister Evie’s life when she choked on a chocolate button, remembering vital life-saving skills he’d learned at school.

Proud mum Debbie said that her son was “buzzing” about his win, and had not been told that he was a winner before the announcement on the night – adding to his excitement.

Dumbarton District MS Group bagged the coveted Community/Voluntary Team Champions title for their exceptional work offering a drop-in service for those affected by multiple sclerosis.

Sheena Rollo, chair of the group which has been running for nearly 50 years, told the Reporter: “It’s kind of starting to sink in. It feels very surreal. We were not expecting it, it was actually quite emotional.

“Why we were chosen to win is a very difficult question to answer. We’ve been running for 48 years – some of us have been with the group for 20 years. I’ve been with it for 10. If you have a family member or friend affected by MS, you know how it affects you. That’s where we get that enthusiasm and drive. We just want to make things better.

“The provost’s awards is all about communities. It’s letting people know that nobody’s alone, and that we are here. No man is an island.”

The big prize on the night, the title of Citizen of the Year, was awarded to Jim McLaren, founder of Clydebank charity Golden Friendships, who also picked up the Community/Voluntary Individual Champion award.

Provost William Hendrie said he and the judging panel were “bowled over by Jim’s dedication and selflessness”.

Runners up in the Community/Voluntary Individual Champion category were Brian McCluskey, who has volunteered at Dumbarton’s Crosslet House in Dumbarton for the past 15 years, and Kevin Crawford, who set up Clydebank Disability Group.

Dumbarton’s Ben View and Food for Thought and Community Soup were runners up for the Community/Voluntary Team title.

Andy Gallagher of Disability Futsal Club in Clydebank was crowned Sports Champion, with runners up named as young bowls star Paul Kane, and Phil Dawson, who set up Vale of Leven Walking Football Club.

Allan Rutherford of Awestruck Academy in Clydebank and singer Ross Anderson were also commended as runners up for Arts and Culture Champion.

Provost Hendrie added: “Everyone on our shortlist has done something fantastic within our community and demonstrated values and commitment that are an inspiration to us all.

“I’m delighted I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many of them and properly recognise their effort and hard work to better West Dunbartonshire.

“It’s one of the most humbling roles and I want to thank them all for the dedication, time, and commitment you have invested in our local community.”