Stonewall will tonight host its first annual awards ceremony at London’s Royal Academy of Arts.

The awards, to be presented by Sir Ian McKellen, celebrate the positive contributions being made by individuals and organisations to the lives of gay people in Britain.

Nominees include author Sarah Waters, actor John Barrowman, Labour peer Waheed Alli, Conservative Party vice-chairperson Margot James, The Economist, Line of Beauty, TV presenter Paul O’Grady, Living TV, Channel 4, singer Will Young and Sugar Rush star Olivia Hallinan.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and Observer columnist Carol Sarler are among those nominated as Bully of the Year.

Three of the ten accolades – ‘Hero of the Year’, ‘Bully of the Year’ and the ‘Stonewall Barclays Community Group of the Year’ – have been chosen by a vote among almost 10,000 Stonewall supporters from across Britain.

The chosen Community Group of the Year will receive a cheque for £5,000 to support its work.

Other award-winners have been selected by a judging panel which includes novelist Stella Duffy, actor Simon Callow, Lt Cdr Craig Jones of the Royal Navy, entertainer Amy Lamé and Jo Fraser from Awards sponsors Barclays.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “It’s always easy to criticise but we also want to draw attention to the ever-increasing number of people across Britain offering positive support in so many ways to the gay community.”

The 2006 Stonewall Awards are sponsored exclusively by Barclays.