THERE were hugs, laughter...

and just a few happy tears as the stars of the South Side were celebrated.

They make a difference to the lives of young and old - and last night the Evening Times Community Champions were hailed for all their hard work.

At a lively event, hosted by singer and Evening Times columnist Michelle McManus, we praised the people who make our communities better.

From the Team Award to the Health and Wellbeing, Sport and Uniform Services Award, our winners were richly rewarded at last night's event in Pollok Community Centre.

Audience members just about raised the roof as host Michelle and Evening Times editor Tony Carlin kicked off proceedings.

First up, Lord Provost Sadie Docherty announced the winner of our Team Award, given to Home Start Glasgow South Volunteers.

The group was set up in 2000 to support the influx of asylum seekers and refugees housed in the Pollokshaws area of Glasgow.

Since then the service has grown to support families across the South Side.

Shirley Tritschler, volunteer with the group, said: "It's a great boost, this is recognition for the hard work Home Start does.

"We'd also hope that this will give us publicity for our organisation and encourage others to come forward and volunteer

"It is wonderful, absolutely brilliant for us to win and brilliant for the organisation as well."

Chief Superintendant Andy Bates, of Police Scotland, then took the stage to announce the winner of the Individual Award.

Mr Bates handed the gong to Anne Scott, who transformed a rundown building to create the Glasgow City Mission and Family Centre, which has become a hub for children to learn skills for the future.

Anne, who has worked with Glasgow City Mission for 28 years, said: "I'm really, really pleased.

"It means the world to me to win, but it really highlights the work I do, rather than me. It's not just about me - it's about my team as well as my organisation."

Mr Bates stayed in the spotlight to call up the winner of the Public Service Award, which went to Andrew Tunn, who has worked for Glasgow Housing Association for the last 25 years.

Police Scotland Area Commander Ann Bell said of Andrew's win: "Andy is a rare individual who not only performs his role competently, but excels in it and possess the rare ability to enjoy it."

As Mr Bates took his seat, Area Housing Manager, Joanne Diamond announced the shortlist for the Uniform Services Award.

The gong produced joint winners - Inspector Andrew Small and Community firefighter Colin Ferguson.

Inspector Small had his biggest fan with him on the night - his daughter Ruby.

While Andrew said he was "honoured and delighted" to receive his award, Ruby was the one doing all the talking.

The eight-year-old said: "I am very proud of my dad for winning an award. It was good fun to go up on stage and help him pick up his prize."

Councillor Emma Gillan then presented the Health and Wellbeing Award to Castlemilk Relaxation Centre, which provides therapy and treatments to people with a variety of needs.

Madge Taylor of the centre said the team was "absolutely stoked".

She added: "We are so happy and proud. We never even thought we would be nominated, never mind win."

Area Commander George McGrandles, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, had the honour of presenting the Sport Award to Whitacres Community Resource.

Set up by local parents, Whitacres Community Academy was launched more than two years ago to provide a range of activities that would help improve the health and wellbeing of local young people.

James O'Brien, secretary and coach of the organisation, said: "It's a good feeling for the club to be recognised for the hard work they are doing.

"It was very unexpected but great that people take notice. Our volunteers give up a lot of time to make it happen and this is the first time we have been nominated for an award.

"Winning just shows that people believe in the kind of work getting done and the changes being made to the community."

Evening Times editor Tony Carlin returned to the stage to present the Senior Award, to Ian McIntyre, who has been volunteering in the community for more than 45 years, and is affectionately known to many young people as Mr Mac the BB Captain.

Sadly, Mr McIntyre has been in hospital and was unable to attend.

Mr Carlin then presented the Young Award to Glasgow Disabled Scouts, which provides activities for young people aged eight to 25 who have complex physical disabilities and life limiting conditions.

Michael Shanks, a lead volunteer with Glasgow Disabled Scouts, said: "We are very excited to be nominated and to be here tonight.

"Our volunteers are all young people so it is brilliant for them to win."

To wind up the night, Michelle sang a trio of songs while our winners celebrated their well- deserved awards.

But the last words of the evening went to Mr Carlin, who praised all the winners and runners-up for their valuable efforts.

He said: "I think you'll all agree that tonight has shown that there are very many fantastic individuals and organisations carrying out magnificent work to make the South of Glasgow a better place for us all."