Olympic boxing gold medalist Anthony Joshua praised the winners of this year’s Audentior Awards at a ceremony held on Friday night.
The super-heavyweight champ, who was raised on the Meriden estate, made a surprise appearance on the stage in the Colosseum.
The ninth Audentior Awards celebrate and honour the outstanding work and exceptional enthusiasm shown by organisations and individuals in the borough.
They are presented by Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill and council chairman Shirena Counter.
This year, awards were given to notable volunteers in the scouting movement, Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Watford Museum.
Mr Anthony, the 6ft 5ins boxing champ, appeared on stage after all awards had been handed out, to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.
He said he was glad to be back to inspire children in the town to take up the sport that had got him out of trouble and given him "discipline".
Mr Anthony added: "In this small borough we are all striving for big things."
After being greeted by Mayor Thornhill and Councillor Counter the evening’s guests were entertained by musicians from Parmiter’s School and later by Joseph and Charlotte from JiveSwing.
The 2012 winners were:
Mayor’s award: Gill Hulin
Mayor’s award: Ted Miles
Chairman’s award for volunteer of the year: Brian Mee
Good neighbour award: Kay Otley
Group of young people award: Signpost User Forum
Group of young people award: Insight IT courses
Disability access award: Julian Treves Brown
Charitable group award: DRUM
Special achievement award: Mary Forsyth
Mayor Thornhill said: "This evening is our way of saying thanks to our top volunteers in the town.
"These people give many hours of their time to the community to make Watford an even better place to live."
Gill Hulin has been a helper, and then leader, of the 29th Scout group for more than 22 years, while Ted Miles has been a member of the movement since 1946.
Brian Mee has volunteered with Watford CAB for 12 years and with the New Hope Trust since 2010. In 2004 he was one of the founder members of Watford Fair Trade.
Kay Otley has volunteered at Greenbanks care home and Victoria House day centre since 1998.
Julian Treves Brown has been a member of Bushey and Watford Phab (PHysically disabled and ABle bodied) club for more than 25 years and has held many positions, including now club chairman.
Finally Mary Forsyth was praised for her work as chairman of the Friends of Watford Museum, where she has worked since its creation in 1998.
Organisations which received awards included Signpost, for its user forum, a group of young people who support the organisation with fundraising, promotion and awareness raising.
Insight was praised for its work teaching IT skills to the elderly at Holywell Community Centre since 2011, and DRUM (Disability Recreation Unity Movement) is a small charity providing day services and activities to adults with physical or sensory disabilities, and their carers.