TODAY’S Gazette is a celebration of our Community Champions.

Since the end of January, we’ve been sharing stories - based on your wonderful nominations - and hailing the kind, selfless endeavours of people across north Essex.

From volunteer drivers and key workers to those responsible for food and clothing supplies, we think they are truly brilliant.

They are pillars of our community and we thank them for their extraordinary efforts during an extraordinary 12 months.

Everyone featured below is a marvel, but now, just for added fun, you have a chance to vote for your ultimate local hero.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Local Hero

We have a prize for the winner and you’ll find a voting form in today's Gazette.

It will appear in the paper every day for the next fortnight.

Make sure you include the number of the person or people you are supporting.

As from tomorrow, for a reminder of all the heroes, visit our competitions page HERE.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Kind and caring - Clare Hanney has been nominated for her work at Autism Anglia

NUMBER ONE - Clare Hanney was nominated for her tireless work at Autism Anglia. She approached the issues caused by the pandemic with passion and dedication

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: At the wheel - Community Champion Nigel Smith

NUMBER TWO - Nigel Smith is a transport volunteer at Colchester Hospital. His role involves driving vulnerable patients home after their stay in hospital, freeing up beds, and it’s something he carries out with a smile on his face

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Source of inspiration - Melinda Hinchcliffe

NUMBER THREE - super-fit instructor Melinda Hinchcliffe has been working wonders to keep people active during the pandemic. A gym class instructor who normally works at Colchester Leisure World, she has selflessly given her time to put on online classes for charity. She gets no payment and offers them for a low rate, with all proceeds going to charities

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Making wishes come true - Tony Lee

NUMBER FOUR - Tony Lee was nominated after making hundreds of elderly people’s wishes come true. Tony launched the Wishing Washing Line initiative, as part of the Friends and Neighbours (FaNs) network, in April 2017. Care home residents can fix their wishes to a washing line in a public place and if someone is able to grant it, they contact the care home. Tony regularly spends evenings, weekends and holidays helping elderly people

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Tireless fundraising - Katie Henderson by one of her community mask trees in Culver Square

NUMBER FIVE - alongside fellow volunteers, Katie Henderson started a social media initiative called Colchester Community Mask/Face Covering Tree. Staff at the Stanway School made scrub bags and ear savers for key workers. It led to a new initiative providing people with handmade masks for a small donation. They are pinned on trees so members of the public can access them. A small donation can be made at the tree

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: In demand - Rebecca Page juggles motherhood with being a hard-working community nurse

NUMBER SIX - Rebecca Page juggles her job as a hard-working community nurse with bringing up two little ones - with a third on the way in July. The 29-year-old makes an amazing contribution to community nursing in Witham, Braintree and Halstead and has been a nurse since 2016

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Hub of the village - Langham Community Shop.

NUMBER SEVEN - tireless volunteers at Langham Community Shop were praised for their extraordinary efforts during lockdown. The staff and volunteers were described as the hub of the village and true Community Champions, staying open seven days a week, 364 days a year, and introducing a special delivery service for customers

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Richard and Nikki Bowdidge with a photo of son Tom

NUMBER EIGHT - Nikki Bowdidge founded the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation in February 2014, in memory of son Tom. Brave Tom raised £175,000 while fighting an aggressive stomach cancer before sadly dying in October 2013, at the age of just 19. Mrs Bowdidge has continued his amazing legacy, tirelessly fundraising and helping hundreds of children and young adults with cancer

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Debra Jackson

NUMBER NINE - Debra Jackson, a carer at Oaklands Care Home, in Brightlingsea, has been described as an “absolute warrior” for her tireless, kind-hearted actions during the pandemic. When it comes to love, warmth and attention to detail, it’s hard to think of a better example than Debra

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

NUMBER TEN - Keaz Kadar is a homecare provider for the Essex Care Group. During the pandemic, Keaz has provided support for the most vulnerable people. This has included organising welfare checks, arranging online chats so people can stay in touch with their friends and loved ones, picking up prescriptions and taking in donations for the Colchester Foodbank

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Exceeding expectations - Victoria Gamble has stepped up to the plate to help the learning disability community

NUMBER 11 - Victoria Gamble, the advocacy and support project manager at registered charity Colchester Gateway Clubs, has been a real rock for those with learning disabilities during the pandemic. When the first lockdown was announced, she used her experience, drive and support to really step up to the plate

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Staying active - Lucy Taylor

NUMBER 12 - Lucy Taylor has kept people moving during the Covid-19 pandemic. The full-time fitness instructor has been putting on virtual sessions for people to join and they proved a source of great help and comfort for so many. She runs an average of ten classes a week

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Putting smiles on faces - Alice Simpson

NUMBER 13 - Alice Simpson put smiles on faces - and spread festive cheer - during the pandemic. Alice launched an appeal on Facebook, asking people to donate goods for her to give to older people across Colchester. Alice and her mum filled shoe-boxes with the items, wrapped them and delivered them to grateful recipients

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

NUMBER 14 - Barbara McIntyre and Eunice Moore were praised for their tireless work running the Colchester-based group Tots 2 Teens. The pair collect donations of clothes, accessories and essentials and then deliver them to families in need. They help youngsters from newborn babies through to teenagers and have been praised for supporting people across north Essex

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Heart of gold - Jessica Thompson Smith

NUMBER 15 - Jessica Thompson Smith set up a group called Helping Kids in Colchester. She wanted to do something to ensure children did not go without a present at Christmas. Jessica managed to get together donations for hundreds of new gifts and get them all wrapped and out to families in need. She also organised food parcels and her efforts are still continuing

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Inspirational - Emma Thrower and daughter Mollie. It was taken when Mrs Thrower helped her daughter organise a tea at Ardleigh St Marys Primary School

NUMBER 16 - hairdresser Emma Thrower proved top of the crops during the pandemic, being a true community champion in Ardleigh. Her acts of kindness in the past 12 months have included arranging VE Day celebrations and distributing goodies at Christmas

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Kind and selfless - Brian Simon

NUMBER 17 - Brian Simon is a volunteer driver for Community 360. In the pandemic, he has continued his work for this charity, collecting and delivering prescriptions to people’s doors, ensuring they receive vital medications. He is also a volunteer at Colchester Hospital

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Brightlingsea WinterFest co-founder Alix Sheppard. Photo by Paul Hammond

NUMBER 18 - Alix Sheppard’s energy and drive underpin Brightlingsea WinterFest - a festival of music and arts which she co-founded in 2015, with Dave Griffiths. Alix, a public health professional, has also been part of the intensive national work needed to combat the pandemic

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Drive and dedication - Pam Donnelly

NUMBER 19 - drive, determination and care. Three words that leap to mind when describing Colchester Council executive director Pam Donnelly. Pam also holds a post on the north Essex NHS board and chairs One Colchester - a strategic and operational group that brings together key partners, to try and keep residents safe and well

NUMBER 20 - Bob Finch (no picture) is the director of the Colchester Talking Newspaper. He has been heavily involved in the weekly productions, for the blind and partially sighted, for about 30 years. Refusing to be beaten by the pandemic, Bob went above the normal call of duty in collecting all the relevant news himself and resorted to technology to record all of this at home, transfer it to relevant copying machines and then post the recordings to listeners