SCHOOLGIRL singer-songwriter Charlie-Anne Bradfield is set to open the Pride of Swindon Awards at Steam today.

The talented teen stepped into the breach after the death of former town crier Fred Ferris last November left the awards without an introduction.

The 15-year-old, who attends Dorcan Academy, said: “The town crier was supposed to be opening the Pride of Swindon Awards but he sadly passed away, so they asked me to get involved as a young person in Swindon. It was an honour to be asked to open the ceremony.”

The celebrations begin at 2pm in the spacious Great Western Hall at the railway museum, where the adults and children who have gone the extra mile to support their local communities will be recognised with the special awards.

To kick them off, Charlie-Anne plans to sing Hero by Mariah Carey as a fitting tribute to the people who have done so much for their communities.

She said: “I chose Hero because it had that association anyway and already carries a lot of meaning for people, and the lyrics are so nice andthey fit the occasion.

“The awards are such a good thing, it’s nice for people to get noticed and to have that recognition.”

This is the sixth year that the awards have taken place, with community stalwarts being nominated in several categories including: individuals or groups who have made a significant difference to their communities; volunteers who have given their time selflessly for years; children or adults who have displayed remarkable courage; people who have helped to reduce crime in the area; people who have helped at a sports club; young people who have proved good role models; and extra-special neighbours and employees who have gone the extra mile in their role, including police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and teachers.

Daniel Struve was one of the first volunteers around the town to be nominated for this year’s awards in recognition of his hard work to raise money for suffering children.

The 84-year-old from Park South said: “I do these things but I don’t expect anything in return, and the people who receive it are so grateful.

“I hate to see children suffer, and a lot of children do suffer.

“I hate wars and I hate guns but I love children and I love animals and I love my family.”

Also among the nominations was former midwife Hazel Furze after dedicating 10 years of service to Pregnancy Choices, and Haydon Wick’s Mike Whelan, who has dedicated his retirement to supporting people in his community, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

For the first time this year, people could nominate someone for a posthumous award, with many of the organisers hoping that former town crier Fred might be chosen.

Swindon Mayor Nick Martin, who helped to organise the awards, said: “I think life is about not just doing good things, it’s also about rewarding people who do good things.

“The Pride of Swindon Awards is a fantastic way of recognising people for the good things they do.”