A WELL-KNOWN local business owner was inspired to sponsor the Western Gazette?s Pride Awards by the everyday kindness he sees at work.
Managing director of The Gardens Group, Mike Burks, has backed the Charity Hero award to recognise those who go to great lengths to help local charities.
This year?s awards have seen a record number of entries and huge support from sponsors including the area?s biggest employer AgustaWestland.
Mr Burks?s company owns three popular garden centres in the area, including Brimsmore Garden Centre in Yeovil and Castle Garden Centre in Sherborne.
He said: ?It is a great pleasure to be involved in the Western Gazette?s Pride Awards and we are particularly pleased to be sponsoring the Charity Hero category.
?Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, nurses who work long hours, carers who are patient and kind, even cricketers who score a century could be classed as sporting heroes.
?Then there are the unsung heroes who really are the quiet achievers within our communities.
?We meet them every day without knowing it, they could be a neighbour, a friend, the postman or a teenager.
?Personally I come into contact with plenty of them at the garden centre ? they garden for the elderly for no reward other than to see a pretty flower bed.
?Some people grow veggies in allotments and give them to families who are struggling.
?Without these stalwarts of our community many people would be isolated and certainly worse off.
?So to recognise someone doing charitable work, giving up their own time so freely, is something I am proud to support and reward.?
Western Gazette editor Emma Slee said: ?I?m thrilled with the level of entries we?ve received this year.
?The Pride Awards are now in their fourth year and are growing as more people become aware of them. ?Judging is going to be an incredibly difficult task as all these people are heroes in their own right.?
The Pride Awards will be presented at a lunchtime ceremony on April 24.