EMOTIONS ran high as community champions were applauded at Steam Museum for the 11th Pride of Swindon Awards.

Singer and star of The Voice Kids Phoebe Maddison lit up the museum's Great Hall at the start before the best and brightest examples of community spirit were welcomed on stage.

Among the winning groups were the Brighter Futures fundraising team for reaching the £2.9m Radiotherapy Appeal target in December, youth club the Swindon Rowdy Bunch, healthy walking initiative Step Out Swindon, and the Junior Street Reps Team who have worked to clean up litter in their areas.

MORE NEWS: Brighter Futures team dedicate award to whole town.

Notable individuals to also pick up a Pride of Swindon badge - who will have their names engraved in the central library alongside previous year’s winners - include Glynis Hales for her work at the Penhill Haven, Becky Davidson for her work with the Swindon Night Shelter, Jill Huby, who skydived aged 79 to raise money for Brighter Futures, author Angela Atkinson and chair of Swindon Civic Voice, and running group champion Thea Chandler.

Mayor of Swindon Junab Ali closed the evening with an emotional tribute to the positive spirit in the town.

He said: “In the last 10 months I have been mayor I have never been as emotional as today. I’m so proud to be mayor of this town because we have such a wonderful community.

“I take my hat off to every single volunteer and group who go above and beyond the call of duty

“It’s opened my mind, I never knew just how many organisations there were, and I’m just really proud to call this my town so thank you and keep up the good work.”

Co-founder of the awards and station manager at community radio Swindon 105.5 Shirley K Ludford told the Adver:

“We have an incredible community spirit in the town so it's great to see people rise to the occasion.

“I like the awards because they are all about people and their achievements and how they support the community.

“And it’s a great leveller. Everyone realises they are all have a part to play in our town and I think this helps to recognise everybody’s contribution to that.”

Jackie Stevens, who runs The Rowdy Bunch, a Swindon-based youth club for people with learning difficulties which has been going for 21 years, picked up a certificate and a Pride of Swindon Award badge.

She told the Adver: “A mum nominated us because her son has been coming to us for quite a while and she has seen the benefits of the group.

“For us it means a lot because our young people face a lot of challenges and to gain the award is wonderful. As one of young people said it was ‘awesome’.

“It’s also great for the volunteers who support the group themselves, so it’s a major achievement and we’re very proud and we’re very grateful to the people that voted for us.”

The club also got a £1,000 grant from the Zurich Community Trust, which has backed the event with the Swindon Advertiser since it began in 2008.

She added: “It’s wonderful because it will help us to go out with the young people and do activities we wouldn’t normally do.”

Sarah Stamp was proud to see her 16-year-old son Thomas Stamp, who has cerebral palsy and autism get a certificate for winning silver medals at the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Reaction Association games in Barcelona.

"Just having a difficulty doesn't mean that it holds you back. Don't stop dreaming," she told the Adver.

"Thomas was determined to represent his country.

"He gave it his all, and he's continuing to train hard, and inspire others and keep going to represent Swindon and his country."

MORE NEWS: Thomas Stamp hopes to inspires others to overcome adversity. 

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, presented the certificates to individuals, welcomed the change of pace from parliament and said: “I continue to be amazed that the things we do for our community are endless and I think it’s right they should get the recognition they deserve.”