VOLUNTEERS and people who had made a difference to the places where they live were honoured at the Chiltern District Council Community Awards ceremony.

Amongst the ten award winners were people who had helped out at a youth club for 50 years, inspired more than 100 people to volunteer and helped save a club from closure.

The prizes were handed out at a special ceremony at Chiltern District Council's headquarters in Amersham on Tuesday, March 18.

Martin Parkes, owner of Flix Hair and Beauty in Chesham, received the Business Award for his work with a number of groups that aim to revitalise the town centre and in training and mentoring new members of staff.

David Worrall was named the winner of the Individual Award for his work over the last three years in extending the services provided by the Chiltern Food Bank - inspiring 100 volunteers to get involved.

Serving as chairman of the Little Chalfont Good Companions Club - which organises outings and Christmas and Easter parties for elderly residents - for 12 years and volunteering for Age Concern in Amersham landed Brenda Fleming with the Older and Bolder prize.

Judges were unable to separate two contenders for the Group Award prize and gave it jointly to Chalfont St Peter Youth Centre and the Lantern Club of Holmer Green - both of which have received the Queen's Award for Volunteering in the last year.

The Lantern Club runs a weekly day centre for the elderly, while the Chalfont St Peter Youth Centre boasts more than 130 volunteers.

Dr Challoner's High School sixth former Amy Botwright won the Young Volunteer award for her work supporting projects in her home village with the Little Chalfont Community Association - inspiring her fellow pupils to take part as well.

She also led a team of pupils in supporting the village's youth club, with judges saying they helped save it from certain closure.

The Long Service award went to Eileen Thompson, who judges said had "dedicated her life to the younger generation" after serving as an active member of Chalfont St Giles Youth Club for more than 50 years.

Eight-year-old Henry Keen from Chesham received the Young Carer award after helping to care for his older sister, who has cerebral palsy, and his prematurely-born younger brother.

The Cabinet Member's Special Award went to John Skrimshire of Great Missenden for his work with the Parish Revitalisation Group, Parish Village Design Statement, Library Working Group and the Missendens Partnership.

The Chairman's Special Recognition Award went to Chesham's Town Crier for the past three years, William Ellis, with judges saying he had "raised the profile of Chesham nationally".

He is believed to be the first person with Down's syndrome to be appointed as a Town Crier in Britain and stood down from the post earlier this year - having originally intended to only serve for one year.

Cllr Peter Hudson, the council's cabinet member for community, said the annual awards had received their highest ever number of nominations this year.

He said: "These awards are an opportunity to recognise the fantastic work carried out by these special people within our communities. It's a chance to thank them, and put them in the spotlight for once - so often they work quietly in the background for the benefit of others. This night was all about them and their achievements."