PEOPLE who make West Fife a special place were celebrated on Friday night at the Press’ third Community Champions Awards.

There were smiles, laughter, tears, touching tributes and music throughout another memorable awards night that showcased the best of community spirit, courage and acts of selflessness throughout our communities after a record number of nominations this year.

The finalists were honoured in the heart of Dunfermline at the spectacular Glen Pavilion, which was decorated with the glitz and glamour befitting of the evening’s stars – our deserving finalists.

Almost 300 guests – up on last year’s number – enjoyed a sparkling drinks reception ahead of the red carpet event before the formal proceedings began with a stunning musical performance by Lois Hardie.

The 15-year-old Inverkeithing High School pupil, watched by principal teacher of music and 2015 Teacher of the Year Paul Wickham, wowed the audience by showcasing her singing that she will take to study musical theatre at The Dance School Scotland at Knightswood Secondary.

Broadcaster and sports journalist Alison Walker hosted the evening and, ahead of the awards presentation, said: “It’s great to be back here and I am delighted to host this celebration of inspiring and amazing people throughout this local community. It highlights the selfless acts of groups and individuals and you are all amazing finalists.”

There was further entertainment provided by the evening’s Live Music Award finalists The Dicksons and Deni Smith, while a charity “guess the balloons” prize draw raised around £1,133.

The four-figure sum will be split between this year’s Charity Champion of the Year finalists – the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund, Laura Bennett Permanent Cosmetics, RealLiving and Margaret Sommerville – while John Black won the grand prize of hospitality at Dunfermline Athletic for two to a league match of their choice next season.

As the thrilled and overwhelmed winners were announced and took to the stage to receive their award, some of the night’s biggest cheers were reserved for those in the Canvas Holidays Little Champion of the Year category.

To the delight of the audience – and with more than a few eyes needing to be dried – it was revealed that the four finalists couldn’t be separated by the judges and that they were all to receive the accolade.

Fife regional editor Simon Harris said: “Our titles are at the heart of our community and our awards help us celebrate the people that make this such a special place. I am often told that there is too much ‘bad’ news in newspapers but, while we have a duty to report it, I like to think that we have a balance. All of our finalists have featured in our pages over recent weeks and months, and the reason we started these awards is to celebrate all that is great about this special part of Fife.

“My favourite part of being a journalist is to tell and share stories like these, and we heard a host of inspiring stories that underlined that West Fife is a community to be proud of.”