I’M constantly amazed and in awe of those who work for their communities, often without pay or recognition.

In south Essex, there are so many people whose contribution and commitment to civic life adds something special and promotes pride in our towns.

A perfect example of that was the YMCA youth awards – a lovely occasion when outstanding people who had gone the extra mile were rewarded.

There were young people who had triumphed through adversity, never allowing personal struggles to weigh them down. There were others who had a real drive to help others and youngsters whose voluntary work is nothing short of amazing.

Watching those young people being honoured for their efforts was truly inspirational.

It was also clear Southend YMCA is making such a huge difference to young people’s lives.

Staff and volunteers are dedicated to young people and setting them on the right road to success. How good to see such success. Hats off to all of them.

Newspapers are often dominated by bad news, but the Echo will always celebrate what is good and highlight the work of those who make a difference.

I’d like you, our readers, to tell me about anyone you knowwho makes a difference in their community. We want to celebrate their contribution and encourage others to follow suit.

Send your nominations to me at echo.editor@nqe.com