Forth awards: Dedicate this one to you

IT was a star-studded evening in honour of the finest talent and community spirit from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The stage at last night's Radio Forth Awards 2010 was graced by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, performing at the city's Assembly Rooms to pay tribute to the well-deserving winners.

Among the line-up of celebrities was singer Paolo Nutini, X Factor winner Joe McElderry, his runner-up in the talent show Olly Murs, Strictly Come Dancing judge Alesha Dixon, singer Gabriella Cilmi and dance troupe Flawless. Edinburgh's Got Talent winner, singer Gavin Blackie from Granton, opened the show at the George Street venue.

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But the real stars on the night were those there to collect awards for their public achievements, including Clermiston Primary teacher Kirsteen Innes who was crowned Forth One Best Teacher.

An emotional Kirsteen, 31, from West Linton said: "I was really shocked when my name was read out - it was such a surprise.

"It was my P1 class from last year who nominated me and all I can say to them, and their parents, is a huge thank-you.

I am privileged to do a job I love and to have so much fun while I'm doing it."

• Forth awards: The winners

• Kirsten Baird receiving her award Picture: IAN GEORGESON

The Radio Forth Local Hero Award went to Reverend Alan Berry MBE for his long-standing commitment to the city's Bethany Christian Trust, a support organisation he co-founded back in 1983.

Mr Berry, who has recently moved to Dunfermline, said: "It's been a big surprise, but I am very pleased we are still managing to meet the needs of people across the city all these years later."

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Joining him on the awards list was city judo legend George Kerr who received the Forth 2 Contribution to Sport award, admitting that even at the age of 73, he still trains with the youngsters that he coaches at his Junior Judo Club on West Bowling Green Street.

"I couldn't take on the likes of medallist Euan Burton though - he'd kill me!" he joked.

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Also taking to the stage to collect her Cash for Kids award was Kirsten Baird, co-ordinator of the East Lothian Special Needs Playschemes organisation that supports youngsters across the area.For many years, Kirsten, who is based at the North Berwick Community Centre, has devoted her time to ensuring respite is offered to parents of those children with additional support needs, with schemes also running in Haddington and Prestonpans.

Last night was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Edinburgh's businesses, with The Real Mary's King's Close picking up the Forth 2 Visitor Attraction Award, the Mercat Bar being crowned Forth 2 Best Local Bar and Head Resourcing picking up the Forth One Best Place to Work Award.

Managing director Gordon Adam said: "This award is very important to us as it shows how the company works with people. I am really honoured."

Hoping for a little of the success enjoyed by the celebrities on stage at the Assembly Rooms was comedian Kevin Bridges, presented with the Forth One Fringe Comedy Award, and musician Callum Beattie, winner of the Forth One to Watch award.

Callum, 21, from Musselburgh said: "I am really happy to be recognised. I've been writing songs in my bedroom since I was about 15, so this is great.

"Hopefully I can go on to play at a few festivals next year and go on continuing in the pubs and clubs I perform in each week."