THE Lancashire Telegraph Grassroots Heroes Awards take place on Thursday where the great and the good of amateur sport will be honoured.

The awards, once again sponsored by United Utilities, were launched three years ago, have the backing of East Lancashire Olympians, Premier League footballers and both managers of Burnley and Blackburn Rovers.

An evening of celebration will take place at Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho on Thursday where former Blackburn Rovers and Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher and fellow Lancashire Telegraph columnist, Burnley legend Willie Irvine will be among the guests of honour.

Also on the guest list are current Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, exciting Lancashire prospect Alex Davies who broke in to the first team last season and an Accrington Stanley player.

However, the real stars of the show will be those who will be up for the 10 awards on the evening.

The 10 categories are Senior Team of the Year, Junior Team of the Year, Spirit of Sport Award, Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Lifetime Achievement, the People’s Choice Award, Community Club of the Year, and the Junior Sports Personality and Senior Sports Personality of the Year awards.

The aim of the awards is to recognise and reward those people who contribute so much to the sporting community.

Alex James, Lancashire Telegraph sports editor said: “The grassroots awards has grown considerably in the three years since it was set-up and is now one of the most eagerly-awaited sporting events on the calendar.

“It is fantastic to see so many people – young and old – rewarded for their efforts across a variety of sports that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

When the Grassroots Heroes Awards 2013 were launched in September, East Lancashire’s sporting elite were quick to highlight the importance of such awards.

Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, who was born in Burnley, and Norwich City’s Anthony Pilkington from Darwen both came up through the ranks in local sport and both acknowledged the work done by coaches at grassroots level that put them on their way.

Samantha Murray, who won silver in the Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics Games canoeist Jon Schofield, a bronze medal winner at London 2012, and world number two squash player Laura Massaro also backed the awards.

Grassroots Heroes Awards 2013 shortlist

Coach of the Year

Iain Taylor, Tennis

Dave Pilkington, Table Tennis

Nik Tucker, Boxing

Lifetime Achievement

Bernard Pickup, Squash

Tony Finnan, Rugby

Billy Markham, Football

Spirit of Sport

Felicity Pickard, Table Tennis

Sycamore Juniors JFC, Football

Harry Warburton, Football

People’s Choice

Brian Collinge, Snooker

Mohammed Zubair Bashir, Sports Volunteer

Don’t Dis-Ability, Boccia

Senior Sports Personality

Robert Holden, Skiing

Martyn Skipper, Martial Arts

Faye Hammer, Ice Dance

Junior Sports Personality

Leah Hillman, Athletics

Noah Chamberlain, Karting

Lucy-Belle Williamson, Fencing

Community Club of the Year

Burnley RUFC, Rugby

Inter Madrassah Organisation

Pioneer 79 Swimming Club

Junior Team of the Year

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Football

Accrington and Rossendale College Girls Academy, Football

Blessed Trinity Year 10 Football team

Senior team of the Year

Mill Hill Diversity, Football

Rimington FC, Football

Hole I’th Wall, Football

Unsung Hero

Jackie Finn, Netball

Allan Clarkin, Martial Arts

Frank Jex, Snooker