THE leading lights of sport in the borough lit up Halton Stadium on Friday.
Their exploits were rewarded at the third annual Halton Sports Awards.
The awards are organised by Halton Borough Council, Halton Sports Partnership and the Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News.
They recognise outstanding achievement in amateur and school sport.
The Sportsperson of the Year award, sponsored by Printel, went to international canoeist JAMIE MAYERS from Runcorn.
Chairman of his hometown club, the self-employed roofer has hit the heights at home and abroad.
His biggest achievements this year were finishing 12th in the 22-mile Marathon World Cup in Portugal while crossing the line fourth in the 10,000m European Cup - both two-man events.
Jamie is also senior coach for his club's junior paddlers.
Colleague Stephen Marnell, who nominated him, said: 'The main barrier James has had to overcome is his very manually-demanding job.
'This inhibits recovery from training fatigue and also prevents best preparation before long-distance races where a period of rest prior to the event is usually essential.'
He added: 'James puts his full energy into the development of juniors - and seniors - at the club, often to the detriment of his own training.
'He can never be accused of not giving 100% regardless of whether he is competing with top international paddlers or junior club paddlers at local events.'
The Lifetime Achievement award, sponsored by the Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News, went to veteran athletics coach and official TOM LOCKE from Bold Heath.
Tom has fought his way back to health after losing a leg to diabetes and is back where he belongs - coaching his young charges at trackside.
The 71-year-old, who could at first walk no more than 10 yards after being fitted with an artificial limb, this year completed a 1.25km charity trek. It is the second successive year Tom has tackled - and conquered - the challenge at Sherdley Park in St Helens.
A local diabetes charity again benefited from his determined efforts, more than £300 being added to the £204 he generated last time.
Six years ago, Tom's life was turned upside down when complications set in with diabetes and surgeons were forced to amputate his left leg at the knee.
He spent 13 weeks in hospital but eventually picked up the pieces to resume an involvement in athletics, which goes back 60 years.
A schoolboy runner for the now-defunct Widnes Harriers, he became his hometown club's chairman before joining Warrington AC - eventually becoming a life member and being elected its president.
He is a UK-qualified sprint coach who has produced several champions and is an exinternational track judge who has also shared a close association with Cheshire Athletics and the Liverpool International Half-Marathon.
Tom is a former Weekly News Community Champion and three years ago, he received a long-service award from the Northern Counties Athletics Association.
He has judged at the world championships for the physically handicapped, refereed the British Wheelchair Championships and officiated at the British Handicapped Games.
At the other end of the scale, the Widnes Connexions-backed Young Sportsperson accolade went to RICHARD MYLER from Widnes, who has gained representative honours at both rugby codes.
Richard has played for England Under 15s at rugby league while captaining the Lancashire rugby union teams, which were unbeaten in the County Championship and won the National 10-a-side Tournament.
He was also a member of Widnes St Marie's ARLFC's title-winning side in the North West Counties League Division One and did particularly well to gain international selection as the only player in the squad from outside the Premiership.
Runcorn's KEN TONGE was named Halton Stadium-sponsored Volunteer of the Year
Ken has been a sports volunteer for more than 30 years with his infectious enthusiasm being fundamental to his success in persuading and inspiring others to follow suit.
He is president of the Runcorn & District Football Association; chairman of Halton Football Forum and volunteer co-ordinator for the Cheshire County FA.
Ken is also very active in table tennis, an organiser for the Cheshire Youth Games, mentor for Millennium Volunteers, chairman of Lord's Taverners Woodside Youth Centre, an executive member of the Cheshire and Wirral Federation of Youth Clubs and has represented Sport England on the Mersey Basin Strategy Implementation Group.
It has been a landmark year on and off the field for WIDNES CRICKET CLUB, who landed the club-of-the-year title, supported by Best Sports.
Hard work behind the scenes culminated in the award of National ECB Community Club Status for 2005 and £43,000 for new practice facilities.
The first team reached the quarter-finals of the ECB National Club Competition for the Cockspur Cup - progressing further than any other North-West club.
They were also semi-finalists in the Cheshire Cup while winning the County League's inaugural Twenty20 competition.
There were also honours for three junior age-group sides.
Meanwhile, overseas destinations in the northern and southern hemispheres were on the itinerary for rugby league's STEPHEN HUNT, the borough's new coach of the year - this category being sponsored by Halton Strategic Partnership.
Ste from Widnes, was assistant coach on GB Young Lions visits to Australia and France.
The Under-18s Young Lions team won three of six games Down Under and in May this year, Great Britain Under 18s beat France Juniors 20-14 in Villeneuve to the delight of their deputy coach.
Ste coaches St Marie's Under 18s - the town's highest-ranked amateur team at the age group, who are founder members of the Halifax Home Insurance National Youth League.
Vikings in the Community-sponsored School of the Year prizes went to PEWITHALL in Runcorn (primary) and WADE DEACON HIGH of Widnes (secondary).
Pewithall hold the Sport England Activemark Gold award and their most famous sporting son is Liverpool FC's Zak Whitbread.
Zak isn't the only high-profile sports performer to have visited the school.
Cheshire's Olympic gymnast and European silver medallist Beth Tweddle has been along to give members of the gym club some tips.
The gym club successfully applied for 'Awards for All' funding for equipment and coaching.
Parent Rachel Bailey nominated Pewithall because of the 'excellent quality and impressive amount of sports available to all the children.'
Wade Deacon has built on strength in the last academic year to further improve provision of high-quality PE and pupil leadership.
The school has appointed Charlie Woan as school sports co-ordinator and two additional Physical Education NQTs have been appointed along with two teachers assigned through the Graduate Teacher Programme.
The school has enhanced its reputation as strong performers in all sports, but particularly rugby.
For a second successive year, Wade Deacon's rugby league team excelled in the Powergen Champion Schools Cup at Year 7.
The 2004 team won the national competition at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the class of 2005 were narrowly beaten in the semis.
This was the team's only defeat in 35 games and they were Powergen North-West Cup winners.
A special award in this category went to STS PETER AND PAUL for attaining sports-college status.