THIS year’s Craven Community Champions Awards has been tinged with sadness following the sudden death of one of the award recipients.

Pat Wardman, 90, from Hellifield, was thrilled to have been named volunteer of the year and citizen of the year at the ceremony on Thursday, February 13, at the Coniston Hotel.

Pat had volunteered for Age UK North Craven for 30 years and was a well respected member of the Settle team. She died suddenly on Sunday.

Paying tribute to her, Jonathan Kerr, chief officer with Age UK North Craven, said: “It is with great sorrow that we have learnt that Pat Wardman has passed away.

“Pat has been an incredible supporter of Age UK North Craven, of supporting and helping others and a huge advocate for the benefits of volunteering, that it is better to give than to receive.

“Pat has been a constant help and friend to a host of our volunteers and staff., and we will miss her. Pat absolutely deserved her awards. She always showed what older people could do, not what they couldn’t. And we celebrate with her. Those who were there on the night will confirm how she lit the room up and was everybody’s champion.”

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, said: “We are all deeply saddened to hear the news about Pat Wardman. She was an inspiration to us all, and lit up the awards evening with her warmth and energy. Our thoughts are very much with her friends and family at this sad time.”

The eighth annual event, run by Craven District Council, with Holt Doctors as associate sponsor, celebrated the achievements of the amazing people who help make Craven’s communities stronger.

The Citizen of the Year Award was sponsored by Yorkshire Housing and the Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Angus Fire. Runners-up for this award were Gerald Townson, who has helped improve railway stations and services along the Lancaster, Morecambe, Skipton & Leeds line, and Peter Hargreaves, a dedicated volunteer for Carers’ Resource in Skipton.

The Young Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by the Coniston Hotel, was won by James Sabin, who lost his older brother to an accidental drug overdose in 2013 and now volunteers with the charity DrugFAM to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs.

Runners-up were Lily Davison, a volunteer with Skipton Juniors FC and Skipton Library; Torin Zieboll, who set up a cancer support group at his school Ermysted’s, and was selected to be a member of the Youth Parliament; and Joe Howard, a volunteer with the SELFA charity.

The Arts & Culture Award, sponsored by Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen, was won by Settle Amateur Operatic Society. The Society has been running for 140 years, promoting drama and musical theatre in the community.

Runners-up were the Upper Wharfedale Arts & Literary Society, and Jess Mahler, conductor of Skipton Community Orchestra.

The Greener Craven Award, sponsored by Smart Solutions, was won by Craven Crew, part of the North Yorkshire Rotters project.

Runners-up for the Greener Craven Award were the Langcliffe Beekeepers, and Plastic Free Skipton.

The Sports & Recreation Award, sponsored by Melvin & Co Skipton, was won by Sutton Juniors Football Club.

Craven Gymnastics Club were runners-up for the sports award, as was Ji Mukherjee, of Skipton Tennis Club, Skipton Cricket Club and numerous other sporting organisations.

The Health & Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Broughton Hall Estate, was won by Neville’s Kitchen, run by volunteers in the Yorkshire Housing Community Hall in Gargrave.

Skipton Wellbeing Café, which runs at St Andrew’s Church, and SELFA Mindful, a group supporting young people to improve their mental health, were runners-up for the Health & Wellbeing Award.

Best Community Group, sponsored by Keelham Farm Shop, was won by the Friends of Aireville Park. Runners-up were Skipton Foodbank and Skipton Rotary Clubs.

The judging panel was made up of CDC chairman Councillor Paul Whitaker, Vivien Mason, of the Craven Herald; Councillor David Ireton, Lead Member for Resilient Communities; Kevin Williams, of Craven College; and Mark Hopley, of Community First Yorkshire.

Councillor Whitaker said: “We are proud to live in such a wonderful place as Craven, where there are so many generous people who make our district so special.”