It was a privilege to attend the Pride of Cotswold awards evening on Thursday.

It was a true Cotswold 'Oscars' evening, presented with professional style but just as important, genuine human warmth.

The facilities at The New Lawn were splendidly utilised, there being a drinks reception in The Green Man and a delicious sit down feast in The Carol Embrey Suite.

The excellent service diners received was typical of the evening’s smooth organisation.

The heroes and heroines of the evening were those nominated for awards. All were winners.

The nominations, read to us all by presenter Rob Stokes told heart-warming stories.

Award winners came from all areas covered by Newsquest newspapers.

Moreton-in-Marsh marathon man Steve Edwards from the north of the area, and Ashton Keynes Junior School from the south.

It was the acceptance speech by Ashton Keynes head Samantha Saville that was the individual highlight. It should have been recorded and played to all aspiring heads: “Shine bright and reach for the stars” is the school motto, and at Samantha’s school it is clear there is the opportunity for all pupils to do that.

There is no limit on what children can achieve at Ashton Keynes they are clearly given the hope and confidence to reach their personal limits and perhaps move beyond.

Throughout the evening we heard about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, but there was no pompous pride.

They were doing what needed doing, just seeing a gap and doing what they could to fill it.

The strength of an area is the quality of the people who live there.

The Cotswolds are truly blessed.

Dale Vince summed up the evening in a short but so true statement.

“It has been a humbling experience to hear about these wonderful people”.

He grasped the essence of the evening. No-one there could have failed to have been up-lifted and inspired. I cannot wait for next year. Start thinking about your nominations.