Celebrating carers who play such a vital role in society
They are the unsung heroes whose selfless efforts support thousands of vulnerable children and adults.
Some are volunteers who give their time and energy through their devotion to a relative or friend.
Others are paid care staff who go the extra mile to help those in need.
All of them set an example which is both inspiring and humbling.
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This special publication is dedicated to them.
It is published ahead of Leicestershire's first Carer of the Year Awards, which takes place on Thursday at St Martin's House, Leicester, and it features the finalists selected by a panel of judges in a range of categories.
This initiative was launched by the Leicester Mercury and Woods Coaches in October when we invited readers to send in their nominations.
We wanted to celebrate the work of the often unseen army of carers whose contribution plays such a vital role in our society, looking after people who are elderly, disabled or poorly.
Without their efforts, the system of care in Britain would struggle to cope.
And without our sponsors, and particularly Woods Coaches, which has been such an enthusiastic advocate of this initiative, the Carer of the Year awards would not have been possible. Our thanks to them all.
Another aim of this awards scheme is to highlight the work done by The Carers Centre in Leicestershire and Rutland, a charity which provides a range of support for carers.
Details of the fantastic services it provides can be found on its website at: www.claspthecarerscentre.org.uk
We have received many nominations telling some fantastic stories and many of them have been featured in the Leicester Mercury over the past few weeks.
Time and again, we have been moved by the extraordinary kindness and compassion which comes through in these nominations.
The judging panel had an incredibly difficult job to choose the finalists and winners.
On Thursday, the category winners will be announced over afternoon tea at St Martin's House and, from them, the Carer of the Year will be chosen.
Congratulations to all those who have made it through to this stage and the very best of luck to them all.
We look forward to seeing them on Thursday and celebrating the sort of achievements which enjoy the limelight all too rarely.