WE'RE searching for heroes. And we need your help to find them.
This month we launch the new Moray & Banffshire Heroes awards in association with Inverness Airport.
We're not looking to the skies though. The heroes we're looking for are more down to earth.
Across the north-east, extraordinary people, of all ages and abilities, are quietly doing their bit for their communities. Their superpowers of kindness, determination, thoughtfulness and selfless commitment make a difference to the lives of others.
They probably don't realise the effect they have had. They wouldn't dream of considering themselves heroes. They may not even expect a thank you.
But we want to show our appreciation and shine a light on the amazing work they do.
We've joined forces with the team behind the Moray Community Awards (MCA) which for five years has celebrated community spirit by recognising the contributions made by local people.
Chairman of the MCA Gordon Methven said: "There have been many inspiring stories. I remember our first ultimate champion who insisted on getting out of their wheelchair to walk up to the stage to receive their award.
"Well, there was not a dry eye in the whole place. Everyone at that ceremony had tears running down their face.
"It's been an amazing five years. We've met extraordinary people who have achieved incredible things. It's been very emotional, but also very rewarding for all involved.
"We're now working together with SPP Media to help establish and expand these new awards."
Steve Barron, group publications manager at SPP Media, said: "After the success of our Highland awards, we thought it only right to shine a spotlight on the everyday heroes of Moray and Banffshire.
"Joining forces with the team who have brilliantly delivered Moray Community Awards made perfect sense to both organisations. We're all looking forward to reading about those people who go the extra mile to make a difference in their communities."
Thanks to our Moray-wide newspaper coverage, readers have the chance to nominate people from across the area – from Banff to Glenlivet, Huntly to Forres.
And it's readers who will choose the final winners.
Graeme Bell, general manager of headline sponsor Inverness Airport, said: "I think it's a fantastic opportunity to nominate people who normally don't expect any recognition.
"It's about people's drive and enthusiasm to go far and above the call of duty.
"A lot of them don't think they should be recognised. They think 'I'm just doing my job'. So this is about making them realise they really do make a big difference.
"I'd make a plea to look around you for your local heroes. You're bound to see people going above and beyond – and I think those are the key words – the people going out of their way to make a difference to someone else's life."
The awards are divided into 12 categories and we'll focus on these in more detail over the next few weeks.
Nominations for Moray & Banffshire Heroes are now open. Once we've received all nominations, a judging panel will draw up a shortlist of nominations from each category. This shortlist, along with all the stories of the nominees for each award, will be published in a special supplement at the end of March.
Readers will then be asked to vote for the person they think is the most outstanding choice in each category.
All those shortlisted will be invited to attend a special gala ceremony at the Mansefield Hotel in Elgin on May 9 when the winners will be announced.
Mr Methven said: "You never forget the look on someone's face as they realise they've been nominated for an award and that members of the public have appreciated what they have done. You can see that it gives them a boost.
"It is wonderful to be able to say thank you and perhaps these awards will help encourage and inspire others to do something that makes a difference too."