CUMBRIA'S education heroes were celebrated on Thursday night as part of the Golden Apples awards.

After a year like no other for education professionals, having faced home schooling, isolation bubbles, remote learning and virtual classrooms, they gathered at the awards to hear inspirational stories about those who went the extra mile to keep their pupils learning.

The awards were presented by Newsquest Cumbria – publishers of the News & Star, The Mail, The Cumberland News, The Westmorland Gazette, The Whitehaven News and The Times and Star.

Ulverston Victoria High School saw two people take home awards, with Nick Hall awarded Best Teaching Professional, and Cody Coupe taking Best Student.

Nacro Education, Carlisle, took Best Further Education Provider, Dawn Burkinshaw took Best Support Staff and First Class Kids were awarded Best Early Years.

Best Community Initiative went to Skills 4 U - Home to Work, Best Use of Technology went to Inglewood Junior School and Best Teaching Assistant was awarded to Drusilla Farr of Pennine Way Primary.

Victoria Morgan of Lakes College was awarded with Best Industry Engagement Initiative, while Oliver Stewart took home the award for Best Education Profession Newcomer.

Best Learning, Development and Training Provider went to Pioneer Tech, Best Education and Learning Leader went to Professor Brian Webster-Henderson of University of Cumbria, and Best Apprentice went to Samantha Hyde.

Best Inclusion Initiative was won by Anna Dove at St Josephs Catholic School, Best Primary School was won by Crosthwaite CofE School, and Best Secondary School was won by Energy Coast UTC.

Health and Wellbeing went to William Howard School and the People's Choice Award went to St Josephs Catholic High School in Workington.

The Lifetime Achievement award went to Beth Rothery, whilst Against All Odds was won by Jack Griffiths.

Jack, a Furness College student, won for his learning achievements and overcoming personal challenges with his disabilities.

He said: “I am proud of myself and I have done so well to get this award doing all my studies in lockdown and I am buzzing to have won.

“Thank you to everyone and it means a lot and I feel as though as must I have done well and I have put the hard work in and I feel really good and happy about being nominated for these awards.”

Editor Vanessa Sims said: "The Golden Apples Awards is a highlight in the Cumbrian calendar and all those nominated could have easily be crowned outstanding winners in their own right.

"Our judges said the standard of entries was so high their job had been harder than ever.

"Newsquest Cumbria and LocalIQ is proud to play its part in promoting all the wonderful work which is taking place in the county on a daily basis."

The awards were sponsored by Energy Coast UTC, Furness College, BAE Systems, Lakes College, South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, The University of Cumbria, The Careers and Enterprise Company and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.