A COUPLE who founded a community centre more than three decades ago were crowned champions in the venue they built, last night.

Maureen and Michael Ferrie were honoured at the North East Evening Times Community Champion Awards 2014 at the GESH centre in Garthamlock.

The crowd clapped and cheered as Maureen, 66, ­accepted the Senior Award on behalf of the couple, while 86-year-old Michael recovered from a knee operation in hospital.

Having served the community for the last 50 years, the couple have dedicated their lives to providing ­facilities for thousands of children, adults and senior citizens.

Maureen, who was ­presented with her award by Chief Superintendant Andy Bates from Police Scotland, said: "It means everything to win. It's a real honour and it lets everyone see the work we do."

They were among a total of 10 winners and dozens of finalists rewarded for their dedication to their communities at the ceremony hosted by Evening Times columnist and Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus.

Education and counselling support service The Spark, which works closely with children and young people in North East Glasgow, won the Team Award, presented by Deputy Lord Provost Gerry Leonard.

Frances Robertson, 64, a senior youth development counsellor at the project, said: "The awards are fantastic idea, it gives you a chance to recognise people for doing their bit for the community."

Community volunteer Connie O'Hara and Tracy Steel, founder of The Happy Club for children with disabilities, were named joint winners of the Individual Award, presented by Area Commander George McGrandles from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Connie, 55, from Riddrie, has been working to provide young children with improved facilities in the area and runs a Wacky Wednesday group.

She said: "I have worked in the community for about eight years now and it is nice to be recognised and appreciated."

Tracy, who has three sons with autism and other additional disabilities, said: "I think it is really nice that someone has thought to nominate me."

Area Commander McGrandles also presented the Public Service Award which went to Jackie Ewing who works with local residents in Bridgeton.

The 52-year-old from Dalmarnock has worked at Bridgeton Community Learning Campus for the past five years teaching literacy and numeracy classes.

She said: "We all love the awards and we think it's a great opportunity for people to be recognised for the work they do in the community."

Easterhouse Community Police team took the Uniform Services gong for their work to reduce crime, increase visibility and build greater community support for the police.

Margaret Crawley, Glasgow Housing Association area manager, presented the award to the team.

Inspector John Gormlie said: "This is a big honour for me and for the team at Easterhouse. We work very hard to keep people safe in the community and the fact that the community have nominated us for an award, it means a lot."

There were joint winners in the Young Award category with 15-year-old Ryan Duke and PEEK Young Volunteers being named by Evening Times editor Tony Carlin.

Ryan, from Easterhouse, has helped to educate more than 150 young people at primary and secondary schools in the North East through the Tackling Violence and Sectarianism programmes.

He said: "It is really good to be recognised, I am pleased. The awards give a sense of awareness of how people do help the community out."

PEEK Young Volunteer ­Jason McDermott, 17, from Tollcross, said the award meant a lot to the team.

He added: "It has been a very good night."

The Health and Wellbeing Award went to FARE Glasgow who have been working with the Easterhouse community since 1988 providing a wide range of activities including the FARE Mini Olympics and the Young Voices programme.

Natasha Revie, 18, from Balornock, is a volunteer with the programme. She said: "It is brilliant. Everyone puts 100% effort in all the time so it means a lot to everyone."

Glasgow Girls Football Club, who provide training for girls and women in the North East, won the Sports Award.

In the past six years they have gone from strength to strength, creating a boys' section and free women's keep fit classes as well as orchestrating a new £80,000 facility in Budhill Park as their home grounds.

Singer Michelle praised all the winners and finalists for their achievements.

She said: "As a columnist for the Evening Times and an East End girl, I am truly honoured to be here with you this evening because tonight is about you, the people who make this city great."