THE bright-eyed youngsters pictured here know they have one person, above others, to thank for turning them into this well-drilled squad.

And that's Lauren Berry, who teaches the girls of Cirencester Creative Dance Academy to be among the best cheerleaders in the country.

She has been singled out as a Sporting Hero in our Pride of the Cotswolds Awards.

Katie Cook, who nominated her, said: "Lauren really believes in all the girls who train with her.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

"She builds them up every week with confidence and they come out of lessons believing in themselves."

Cheerleading, which is derived from American sports, uses dance and basic gymnastic skills, and dancers carry pompoms, which traditionally bear the colours of the team they support.

Another candidate in the Sporting Hero category is Chris Brown, of Stroud Athletes Club.

Saxon Bull, who nominated him, said: "Chris gives up his own time to train young athletes.

"He is a very caring teacher, giving young children and adults his time and experience to help them take part in athletic competitions all over the country."

The Pride of the Cotswolds Awards will be presented in a glitzy ceremony at the New Lawn stadium, home of Forest Green Rovers Football Club, in September.

Supplements in the paper and coverage on our website and social media will list which awards are up for grabs, and which are finally shortlisted.

Our independent judging panel will sift through your nominations and identify those with the qualities they feel best match the award category criteria. They will make their decision based on the content of the nomination rather than the number of nominations received.

Join us in applauding those who help make the Cotswolds great.