A dedicated school worker admitted she was left “speechless” after being named People’s Champion – an award chosen by the citizens of Aberdeen.
Aileen Walker, support services manager at Bucksburn Academy, was one of four nominees for the prize, which recognises Aberdeen City Council staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
It is part of the Star Awards, a ceremony held annually to honour the local authority’s workers, and is the only category voted on by members of the public.
Speaking after she learned she had won at the virtual event, Aileen said: “I can’t quite believe it. Colleagues at every school in the city are going above and beyond every day in their dedication and enthusiasm to help all our pupils and each other and I accept this very special award on behalf of us all.
“I feel so humbled and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me but every member of ‘Team Bucksburn’ is fantastic and I’m so fortunate to work alongside such amazing colleagues, wonderful pupils and the wider school community.”
People’s Champion is school’s ‘beating heart’
Aileen, who was described in one of the nominations as “the beating heart” of Bucksburn Academy, was shortlisted alongside Lochside Academy’s youth development officer Sharon Desbois, the council’s environmental health and trading standards team and its community alarms and emergency repairs staff.
Nominations were submitted by members of the public and the finalists were agreed by an external judging panel.
Angela Scott, the council’s chief executie, said: “The Star Awards offer us the opportunity as an organisation to acknowledge the dedication and enthusiasm of our employees and highlight just some of the very best examples of our first-rate work force.
“The People’s Champion is a special award because the finalists are nominated by the public as is the winner so huge congratulations go to Aileen Walker, a very worthy winner.”
Staff are ‘second to none’
Council leader Jenny Laing added: “Our staff are second to none and the Star Awards allows us out with working hours to consider the positive impact that they have on individuals and communities across the city.”
“I would like to thank the public for taking the time to submit nominations and then vote for the council employee or team they thought should be People’s Champion. The public’s involvement is the very reason why the People’s Champion award is so special.”
All the Star Awards winners:
Rising Star: Reyna Stewart, Analytics and Insight Manager, Customer – Data Insights
Health & Wellbeing: Corporate Health and Safety Team (COVID-19)
Innovation: Bookbug Team, City Libraries
Inspirational Leadership: Margaret Sweetnam, Marketing Manager, Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums
Collaboration: Prescription Delivery Team
Pride in Public Service: Ian Talboys, Countryside Officer
Team of the Year: Aberdeen Crematorium
Outstanding Contribution: Marek Zaczkowski, Refuse Loader, Graham Leiper, Refuse Loader and Graeme Moir, Lead Charge Hand Driver, who all work for the Council’s Operations and Protective Services