THE time has come to start the search for our unsung heroes as The Pride of Andover Awards 2012 get under way.

Now in their sixth year, the awards have gone from strength to strength since they were launched by the Andover Advertiser.

This year the theme is Diamond Jubilee, and it is hoped that more people than ever will be moved to nominate those valued members of the public who go the extra mile for individuals or the community.

The winners of the event – sponsored by Stannah, Simplyhealth, the Andover Advertiser and The Breeze Andover – will be presented with their prizes at a ceremony at The Lights on Tuesday, 9 October.

The awards – which are supported by Andover Vision and Test Valley Borough Council – will be hosted for the sixth year running by TV personality Esther Rantzen and compered, for the first time, by Steve Randall of The Breeze Andover.

Since the awards started they have uncovered many heart-warming stories about people and the things they do for others.

Last year the Heart of Gold Award was won by Joan Beal for her years of volunteering at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, the Countess of Brecknock Hospice Portway and Marnel Infant School.

Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution was presented to Colin Dart and Sheila Frances, who founded the Wessex Gardens Andover Cancer Trust more than 30 years ago.

Andover Vision’s Special Award was given to Sarah Prust, Maurice Sweeney and the Fusion Youth Group for their tireless work with young people, while Maureen Fraill received the Spirit of Andover Award for her work as treasurer and entertainments officer of the Andover Carnival for the previous four years.

Watch out for nomination forms as they become available over the next few weeks.