THE search for amateur sporting stars and unsung heroes across East Lancashire is over as the shortlist for the Lancashire Telegraph’s annual Grass Roots Heroes Awards is revealed - and you can have your say by voting in our 'people's choice' award.

Following the resounding success of last year’s ceremony, the Lancashire Telegraph has once again teamed up with United Utilities to recognise and reward the people who contribute so much to their communities through participation in sport.

And after months and hundreds of nominations, a shortlist for nine categories has been finalised – while there is still the chance to have your say in our People’s Choice award.

The editor of the Lancashire Telegraph, Kevin Young, is delighted with the response for 2012 and said: “Sport is so important to life across East Lancashire.

“We are indebted to United Utilities for their support and I am delighted that the Grass Roots Heroes Awards have once again been so well received and supported by the sporting community.

“It was incredibly hard to draw up a shortlist as we had so many high quality entries.

“I believe that our candidates reflect just how strong the area is.”

Closing date for votes is Sunday, November 25

The People's Choice

Harry Warburton, Football A referee who just doesn’t seem to want to hang up his boots and whistle!

Now aged 78, Harry He had planned to retired two years shy of 50 years of refereeing but he was coaxed out of retirement and this year, was awarded by the Lancashire FA for 50 years service to football.

Has a record of all the matches he refereed – a total that has reached 6,650.

Bethany Widdup, Skiing Finished in third place in the English Alpine Championships in Italy – her first international podium place.

Bethany is considered as one of the best young skiers in the country having already been selected for the England training team.

She is also the indoor English and British champion and skiers for Manchester’s Chill Factore and Austrian-based Ambition Race teams.

St Francis Primary School, Football BECAME one of the few schools to retain the coveed Jubilee Shield after winning it for the first time in 36 years last year.

This year, however, they defended it with some style – lifting the old trophy without conceding a single goal.

The team is managed by teacher Simon Wooton and head teacher Sharon Thomas says they are a credit to the school.

Alan Smith, Football Could simply be known as Mr Padiham, a true legend at the club but every bit the unsung hero.

As well as running Padiham Football Club, Alan is a big supporter of local amateur football. He will accommodate virtually any cup final, sometimes in a time when vital work has to be carried out on the pitch.

Co-ordinates the annual Padiham Sports Week which has become a firm favourite in the sporting calendar.

Oswaldtwistle St Mary’s Football The club has recently opened a £1.2million sport facility for ‘tomorrow’s football stars’ following a gruelling five-year project.

The new site at Heys Lane is a joint project with Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School and Hippings Methodist Primary.

The club believes is can play a key role in the community and is now hoping to work towards achieving Charter Standard Community Club status.