THIS YEAR marks the 12th anniversary of the Citizen of Southend Awards and offers the chance to honour a new community hero.

The award not only recognises those who go above and beyond but has helped lead to £50,000 in charitable donations in the dozen years since it was created.

Nominees could be anyone who has shown courage, bravery, or contributes in a great way to the community, such as leading projects, helping care for the disadvantaged or who has any outstanding achievements in fields including health, education and community affairs.

Philip Miller, chairman of Citizen of Southend Award, said: “When we first tallied the figures I was amazed to see how much we had given away over the last 12 years.

“I’m also delighted to see the return of the Youth Award as there are some many youngsters out there showing amazing acts of kindness. We would love this to be the biggest year yet for nominations, so please take the time to nominate these amazing people and make sure they are recognised for the amazing work they do.”

All seven award judges have also contributed to the Southend community in some way.

Mr Miller became an MBE in 2003 for his charity contributions supporting John Grooms, Fair Havens Hospice, schools and sporting clubs. Councillor Ian Robertson approached Phillip in 2007, where they and other key community members launched the awards scheme to reward the town’s unsung heroes.

Peter Virgo was the chairman of The John Grooms Southend Appeal, Yusuf Goolamali was the founding former chairman of the Southend Ethnic Minority Forum and Mick Thwaites was the Divisional Commander at Southend which brought him into contact with voluntary groups and diverse communities in Southend..

Judge John Barber was chairman of the association covering the business sector for leisure and tourism in Southend for 18 years, and is currently acting as the link between the trade association and Southend Council, and other bodies regarding the regeneration of the Seafront.

The Rev Hannah Bucke started a new ministry based in the town centre, is chaplain to Adventure Island, and a member of the management team for Southend Street Pastors among other things.

Graham Longley served 35 years as a ward councillor for Southend Council. He became mayor in 2000 and as part of his fundraising, he established the Heartbeat charity, raising funds for defibrillators in public locations across the town.

This year will see the return of the Youth Award, where gold winners receive £300, silver award winners receive £200 and £100 for the bronze winners. All youth winners will also receive the same prize money for their school or chosen charity and will get a tour around Radio Essex.

Nominees can also be chosen for accolades including gold, silver, bronze and the Sir Teddy Taylor Award. Sir Teddy Taylor winners and gold winners will get £500 for themselves and £500 for their charity, Silver winners will get £250 for them and the charity and bronze £100.

Southend mayor, Derek Jarvis, will present the trophies to winners at an award ceremony later this year.