A 97-YEAR-OLD man who has worked for his community for more than four decades, wowed crowds at the first Community Champions event of 2013.

John Connelly, from Cranhill Senior Citizens Club, won the Senior Award at the East End event at Bridgeton Community Learning Campus.

More than 200 community groups and outstanding individuals turned out for the event, now in its fifth year.

There were cheers for John as he received his award from Evening Times editor Tony Carlin.

John, from Sandyhills, arranges holidays and activities for more than 30 pensioners who attend the weekly club.

He said: "It is a great feeling to win. But you don't do these things without the help of other people."

Mr Carlin said: "Tonight is about celebrating those individuals and organisations who are the very lifeblood of communities across the east of Glasgow."


Video by Frederik Subei

The Team Award, presented by Bailie Elaine McDougall, went to Back 2 Front Street Club, a group of residents who set up a memorial garden and grow flowers, fruit and vegetables to share after their community was devastated by the deaths of 10 people within in three years.

Jane Boyce, 57, from Easterhouse, said: "I am elated and happy. This is just fantastic for the weans."

The Individual Award, presented by Strathclyde Fire and Rescue area commander David Proctor, went to parent and volunteer Natalie Scrymgeour.

She has helped out at Beechwood Nursery School for five years and is a member of the Parent Committee which helps to raise funds and runs the nursery garden.

Mum-of-four Natalie, 37, of Easterhouse, said the awards were a "great thing". She said: "I attended before with the nursery when they were here for the best school but never imag-ined I'd be up for it."

Glasgow Housing Association environ-mental operative Jamie Tierney was presented with the Public Service Award by Councillor Maureen Burke.

He is based in multi-storey flats in Cranhill, where he provides services to more than 300 residents.

Jamie, 49, from Cambuslang, said: "These awards encourage people to do things in the environment where they stay or where they work to make the place better."

The Uniform Services Award was presen-ted to PC Geoff Smith by GHA chairman Gordon Sloan. PC Smith, 43, is based in the Area Operational Support role of the Community Policing Team at London Road, where he works tirelessly to foster better working relationships with community residents and agencies through the East Centre Crime Prevention panel.

PC Smith said: "I have been nominating people I have been working with for years, I know the groups who have won and even just being a nominee is just such a reward for all the work we do together."

Mr Carlin presented the Young Award to Sandaig Primary School for their work to raise awareness about the dangers of setting off fire hydrants and making hoax calls to the fire station.

The pupils worked with Easterhouse Fire Station and Kilbirnie House Safety Centre to produce the film.

Gary Clark, 11, from Springhill, said he was excited to be at the awards.

P7 teacher Kirsty Wright said: "I am incredibly proud of how hard [all the children] have worked."

The Health and Wellbeing Award, which was presented by Chief Superintendent Andy Bates from Strathclyde Police, went to the Women's Centre Information and Support Project.

The centre was established in 1989 and is run by volunteers to help eliminate isolation and build confidence in a safe and friendly environment.

Volunteer Jeanette Ford, 51, from Easterhouse, said it was "wonderful" to win.

She added: "It will open everything up to other women and raise awareness about what we are doing."

The Sport Award was presented to Glenda Strang, the driving force behind Eastbank Netball Club for 25 years.

She set up the only netball club in the East End and has coached hundreds of children and women.

Glenda, 58, from Uddingston, said: "Words can't describe it, I am just so delighted to have won this award, I am over the moon."

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk