IT was a night for heroes as the very best in Hartlepool sport was honoured for their excellence.
The winners of the Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards have been revealed at a sparkling ceremony which was held at the Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield.
More than 200 people turned up and got to enjoy an evening filled with drama.
Among the many highlights was the Inspire Award trophy which went to the golden girl of boxing Amanda Coulson.
Amanda has gone on from a career in the ring to become a coach at the Catholic Club. She is also a member of the Great Britain coaching set-up in Sheffield.
Amanda is also a Sky Sports Living for Sport athlete mentor. Her mum Anne Coulson and Anne’s partner Don Gooding collected the award. Anne said: “She will be over the moon. She is coaching in Germany. We will be delighted to hand over the trophy to her.”
There were plenty of other highlights, such as international golfer Graeme Storm winning the sports personality of the year award with Savannah Marshall highly commended, and Bethan Kelly lifting the Young Sports Personality of the Year crown.
Graeme said: “It is a real honour to win an award in Hartlepool and very surprising.”
The all-conquering Horden Rugby Club lifted the team of the year crown while Steve Bell, 61, was delighted to become the Sportsperson Special Achievement trophy winner for the way he fought back from a heart attack to compete in the Great North Run just five months later.
Billingham 20-year-old Luke Twizell, who has cerebral palsy and plays wheelchair rugby for the North East Bulls as well as the Great Britain Development Squad, won the disabled sportsperson award.
And Hartlepool man David Lowes, 66, who has refereed at 2,500 football matches as well as England schoolboy internationals, was chosen as our sports official/referee winner.
Coach of the year Rebecca Taylor, 23, who founded the spectacular Hartlepool Hawks cheerleading academy four years ago, was jubilant after being announced as the coach of the year.
Our unsung hero was Billy Lithgo, 55, who has put 30 years into Seaton Carew Rugby Club and has even been known to get up at 5.30am to get sports pitches into a playable condition.
John Spence won the young leader award while Freddie Potter was the lifetime achievement trophy recipient for more than 50 years of devotion to boxing.
Watch out for even more coverage of the fantastic night in a supplement next week.