"If you're a Boro lad, you support the Boro and grow up on a council estate - to win Citizen of the Year of your home town? To me there's nothing better in the world..."
These are the words of Tony Wedlake, the Middlesbrough man who has helped raise nearly half a million pounds for good causes in the area who has been named the town's Citizen of the Year.
Since 2015, Tony has dedicated much of his time voluntarily to help change people's lives and create happy memories.
In 2017 he co-founded the Teesside Family Foundation which not only supports many local activities but also provides specialist equipment for disabled people, support for the elderly, homelessness help, and support for forces veterans.
The foundation has raised somewhere in the region of £400,000 over the last four years.
He has also arranged many fundraising events raising thousands of pounds to help provide treatment for poorly children and specialist equipment for children with disabilities.
Tony, who is from Pallister Park but now lives in Marton, continues to work at Chemoxy in Middlesbrough, a company he joined in 1993 in the footsteps of his dad. The 46-year-old is married to Kerry and is dad to Daniel, 20, and Katie, 15.
Of the awards he said: "I went there nervous but didn't think I was going to win so to get that, for me, there's nothing better because I don't do it for awards.
"If you are a Boro lad and you support the Boro and grow up on a council estate, to win Citizen of the Year of your home town? To me there's nothing better in the world.
"That's the greatest thing I will ever achieve. There's nothing will top that."
The winners in other categories were:
Winner - The White Feather Project
Health and Wellbeing
Business - Step Forward Tees Valley
Community - Nite Light CIC
Helping People Learn
Business - The Hope Foundation
Community - Ubuntu
Improving Job Opportunities
Business - Active Tees Valley
Community - The Prince's Trust
Improving our Neighbourhoods
Business - Community Ventures
Community - Jackie Young and Community Champions
Making People Happier
Business - Sag Hussein
Community - Tracy Hunter
Middlesbrough Children Matter - new award for 2021
Winner - George Martin
The well-attended awards ceremony was held at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Monday, September 20 and was sponsored by CVFM Radio, Everyone Active, Gleeson, Teesside University, Middlesbrough College, Faithful and Gould, Transpennine Express, Logic Architecture, Ramsdens and Holiday Inn Express.
More information on Middlesbrough Council's 2021 Civic Awards can be found on the Civic Awards page.