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Who thinks Croydon's great?- The local paper, of course!

More than 250 people from leading businesses and voluntary organisations attended a gala reception organised by the Croydon Guardian to honour Croydon’s Champions.

The newspaper joined with the council and key businesses at the beginning of 2002 to launch the campaign We Think Croydon’s Champion to promote the town as a champion place to live, work and play.

During the year numerous events have promoted the campaign, including the release of 4,000 balloons at the Guardian-sponsored Croydon Carnival, each carrying a message about the town from a local school pupil.

The campaign culminated in a spectacular evening of entertainment and fireworks during which silver salvers were presented to the town’s unsung heroes – ten champions voted for by readers of the newspaper in the categories of ethnic diversity, charity, community, environment, business, sport, education, culture and heritage.

Croydon Guardian publisher Jo Gumb said: “Back in January I saw the campaign as a way to give the town some of the positive promotion it needed for a feel-good factor – something to counteract the out-dated negative view which we often see in the national media when they refer to Croydon.

“Over the last ten to 11 months, it has been much more than that. We have been able to spread the message further than I thought possible, we have been able to raise money for a number of worthy causes, and personally, I have learnt a lot more about the town I work in through the people I have met and the articles we have run in the Guardian.

“I am proud that the Croydon Guardian has been able to play its part in supporting the local community.”

The evening also honoured another young champion, nine-year-old James Haddad, who sadly died a week before the ceremony from an inoperable brain tumour.

The newspaper has reported James’ brave fight against in condition throughout 2002 and an appeal started in his name has raised more than £30,000 for medical research and to support the families of sufferers. The We Think Croydon’s Champion Appeal handed over a cheque for nearly £4,000 to the James Haddad appeal at the reception, raised through event sponsorship and a raffle.

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