Inspiring individuals and groups from the north-east have been celebrated for their efforts.
The winners of Inspiring Aberdeenshire 2021 were revealed in an online ceremony this evening, August 26.
Hosted by broadcaster Fiona Stalker and the Provost of Aberdeenshire Bill Howatson, eight individuals and four groups were recognised for their hard-work and community spirit.
This is the second year that the event has been streamed on Facebook, allowing more people to watch the awards being handed out.
The nominations were opened earlier this year giving residents the opportunity to celebrate the unsung community heroes of Aberdeenshire.
John Anderson who has been an integral part of the Fraserburgh community was awarded the lifetime achievement award.
Over the years Mr Anderson has had many roles, from Boys Brigade Officer to being a member of International Rescue travelling the world to help in countries struck by natural disasters.
While he was the station officer at Fraserburgh Fire Station he set up the Blue Light Festival which fundraises for various local charities. He also set up the Fraserburgh Resilience group through his involvement with the community council and has raised funds to install defibrillators throughout the town.
Speaking at the event councillor Howatson said: “It never fails to amaze me that year in and year out we hear about astonishing people doing astonishing things. People whose work we are not aware of, but they go the extra mile all over Aberdeenshire to help each other and their communities.
“To mark the Covid efforts this year was especially important, given all we have been through, and I was delighted that Professor Leitch joined us to hand out that award. It was, yet again, another Inspiring night which will hopefully inspire others.”
The Inspiring Aberdeenshire 2021 winners
Aberdeenshire’s Future Award: Aidan Clark and Rachel Green
Aidan Clark and Rachel Green are both in sixth year at Portlethen Academy and jumped at the chance to set up a gay/straight alliance group.
The group was set up with the aim of creating a culture of understanding, mutual respect and inclusion throughout the school. Adopting the roles of pupil leaders they have taken the group from strength to strength and never shying away from LGBTQ+ issues.
Inspirational Volunteer award: Mairi Eddie
Mairi Eddie, through her role with the Benholm and Johnshaven community council, has hugely contributed to the health and wellbeing of those in the area.
She was instrumental in setting up the Community Larder at Johnshaven Village Hall to support people affected physically, financially or emotionally by Covid.
Through Mairi’s work the larder now provides toiletries, cleaning products, activity packs and arts and crafts materials as well as canned and dried foods. She has also set up a community library and games swap for residents.
Heart of Aberdeenshire Caring award: Huntly Homecare Team
Providing homecare to some of the most vulnerable in the community to the absolute highest standards, as well as end of life care, this dedicated group goes above and beyond.
They rally around the community in their own time as well, delivering food parcels, raising money for charity, and supporting people throughout the recent gas outages.
Their nomination explained: “They always think of others before themselves and it is my absolute pleasure to work with such a dedicated, supportive, welcoming and genuinely amazing group of ladies. My Huntly homecare heroes.”
Cultural award: Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson has dedicated his career to the promotion of Scottish Fiddle Music, particularly music and culture from the north-east of Scotland.
He has taught fiddle all over the world, performed globally and promotes north-east culture and music in everything he does. He composes, teaches and has moved lessons and concerts online during the pandemic.
Doric also features in his performances to keep it in the public eye. Aside from this, he is also an accomplished academic, whose research into fiddle music has been vast and his knowledge is second to none.
Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environment award: Crawford Paris
Crawford Paris project manages beach cleans and is the face of the Turning Back the Plastic Tide campaign.
He puts his heart and soul into raising awareness of plastic pollution in our coastal waters. He is as happy delivering educational events for local school kids, students and businesses as he is litter picking and supporting community volunteers.
Crawford mobilises teams to collect plastic from beaches at Balmedie, St Cyrus, and Cairnbulg to name just a few. He shows people how we can all help in a small way to make a big difference.
Local Hero Courage award: Alfie Fraser
Alfie Fraser was nominated by an ambulance paramedic who arrived at an accident scene to witness Alfie’s selfless bravery.
Back in February 2021, a child seriously injured themselves falling down a steep hill. Alfie, who happened to be nearby, called for help and stayed with the child until her parents arrived.
He then went over and above to help the paramedic crew when they arrived, carrying equipment through deep snow in the cold, making several trips and helping the crew get the child into the ambulance.
Alfie had no gloves, was wearing just trainers, and yet battled against the elements to get the child to safety.
His nominee said that in all her years of being in the service she had never come across such a helpful member of the public and one so young. Getting this critically injured child to hospital was only made possible with Alfie’s help.
Community Spirit award: Young People’s Organising and Campaigning Group (YPOC)
The Young People’s Organising and Campaigning Group (YPOC) are a driven group of care-experienced young people in Aberdeenshire.
They are a campaigning group which wants to make things better for other looked-after children and young people.
The latest campaign ‘Coming into Care and moving placements-Getting it right’ was launched last year during lockdown, to educate people about what it’s like coming into care and what they need from those around them in support.
The young people used their own experience, thinking about what was and wasn’t helpful for them, and how traumatic this can be for children and young people. They wrote the story, illustrations and wrote the guide too.
Covid-19 Response award: The Larder Portlethen, Portsoy Area Action Team and Strengthening our Buchan Response
The judges decided to award all three finalists after agreeing it was too hard to separate the extraordinary work they do.
The Larder Portlethen
The Larder Portlethen is run by three volunteers from the community.
What started as a small-scale foodbank back in March 2020 as a response to Covid has developed into an invaluable community go-to for food, drink, gifts, prescription runs, almost anything.
They have responded to the pandemic in the most selfless way and, as a result, the larder goes from strength to strength.
What started as a response to an emergency situation has become a much-needed resource and one which helps support the whole community.
Portsoy Area Action Team
Sharon Short quickly swung into action at the start of the pandemic by setting up the Portsoy Area Action Team with a small team around her.
Working alongside local shops, every home in Portsoy and surrounding areas was leafletted to inform residents of a telephone ordering and home delivery service. The delivery side was entirely organised and run by this small yet dedicated band of volunteers and continued throughout the first lockdown delivering food and medicines to people.
The group set up a Facebook page, which has been regularly updated with advice and guidance from official sources throughout the pandemic.
The service provided, especially in the early days, was absolutely vital for the community and without their work many vulnerable members of the community would have been unaware of how they could access basic supplies or medicine.
Strengthening our Buchan Response
At the start of the first lockdown, many communities rallied to pull together to ensure that no member of their community was left isolated and in need of help.
In Buchan, a number of these groups came together under the banner Strengthening our Buchan Response and over the following 12 months organised volunteers far and wide to meet local needs.
They helped secure funding for food supplies, arranged PPE and supported calls for assistance through the Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub.
As a group they would also work with other services like NHS, fire, police, the local rural partnership and Aberdeenshire Council, to ensure that links were in place for support as part of keeping communities safe.