THE winners of the seventh annual Craven Community Champions Awards were announced at a ceremony at Coniston Hotel on Thursday last week.

The event, run by Craven District Council and the Craven Herald, celebrated the achievements of the people who help to make Craven’s communities stronger.

Chris Porter was named Citizen of the Year. He has volunteered tirelessly for more than 10 years as a self-advocate, improving the lives of his peers who have a learning disability and/or autism. Chris also volunteers at Oxfam, at South Craven Community Library and with Exclusively Inclusive.

The Citizen of the Year Award was sponsored by Yorkshire Housing. Chris was also a runner-up in the Volunteer of the Year Award, along with Marielyn Geddes, who has headed up the lunch club at Skipton Baptist Church for the past 20 years.

The Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Angus Fire, was won by Martyn Hughes, a retained firefighter in Craven who has thrown himself into the task of raising money for the children’s charity Candlelighters, in support of local boy William Bramley.

The Young Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by the Coniston Hotel, was won by Katie Tutty, a Young Leader with Cubs, who also fundraises with the Scouts, and is an enthusiastic volunteer at Skipton Library.

Oliver Webster, a keen volunteer with Exclusively Inclusive, and the Settle Skate Park youth group, were runners-up.

The Arts and Culture Award, sponsored by Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen, was won by Cantores Salicium, a chamber choir that has raised money for a number of local projects. Runners-up were Skipton Community Orchestra and the Skipton Embroiderers’ Guild.

The Greener Craven Award, sponsored by Smart Solutions, was won by Friends of Embsay with Eastby Nature Reserve – a group who have transformed the nature reserve, making it more accessible while retaining an important wildlife habitat.

Runners-up for the Greener Craven Award were the Craven Crew, part of the North Yorkshire Rotters project, and Marion Armstrong, of Cultivating Settle.

The Sports and Recreation Award, sponsored by Principle Healthcare Group, was won by North Ribblesdale RUFC – a rugby club based in Settle which has recently transformed its second pitch, providing fit-for-purpose facilities. Ian Longden, of Skipton Juniors FC, and Skipton Tennis Club were runners-up for the sports award.

The Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by the Broughton Hall Estate, was won by Cancer Support Yorkshire’s Skipton Centre, which was set up in August 2014 and has supported almost 1,000 people who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis. Ruth O’Brien, who runs the Age UK North Craven lunch club, and the Practice Health Champions, who work in partnership with Fisher Medical Centre in Skipton, were runners-up.

Best Community Group, sponsored by Keelham Farm Shop, was won by Skipton and Craven Parents Group. Formed in January 2016 as a Facebook group, they also run their own weekly toddler session, parent workshops and social evenings.

Runners-up were Skipton Community Orchestra and the Greatwood and Horse Close Residents Association.

The judging panel was made up of Cllr Wendy Hull, chairman of Craven District Council, Julian Smith MP, Vivien Mason, of the Craven Herald, Cllr Linda Brockbank, Andrew Cropley, Principal of Craven College, and Mark Hopley, of Community First Yorkshire.