AS nominations continue to flood in for our Dudley Borough Community awards the host of the gala finals event has been revealed.

Winners will be announced at a prestigious black tie gala at the Copthorne Hotel in Merry Hill.

The master of ceremonies for the big night will be well-known artist and author Lee Benson.

Lee lives in Halesowen and hosts a show for Black Country Xtra which is part of Black Country Radio.

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After owning a successful art gallery in Birmingham Lee now devotes his talent to creativity in the mediums of painting, photography and music.

He is also a prolific writer and illustrator who has books published on owning an art gallery and has collaborated with Andrew Sparke to produce illustrated discographies on acts including Supertramp, Sad Cafe, Talk Talk, The Blockheads, Alice Cooper ,Billy Joel and Thin Lizzy.

Lee has also written poetry and children's books and performed many of these on TV.

The multi-talented host is also an accomplished public speaker and performer, he told "I go very quiet. This stems from way back when I was in a band, before a gig I would just sit in a corner and avoid everyone till walking on stage.

"The same goes to reading and performing, be it in a restaurant, an after dinner speech or just performing in a group performance.

"Don’t eat chocolate before talking and do not drink alcohol beforehand, it does not help.

"Those moments of calm before performing ground you, it clears the air, then hey presto off you go, and the next minute it’s all over."

Dudley News:

The first Dudley Borough Community Awards seek to celebrate all the wonderful things that are happening across the Dudley Borough and to shine a light on our region and its many, many success stories. From businesses to charities and schools to pubs, these awards seek to recognise those who go the extra mile to serve our communities.

The gala final will take place on Thursday November 23, nominations are open until noon on September 24, visit our website for more information and to submit your nomination in one of the 12 categories.