Three councillors in the north-east have been shortlisted for major awards celebrating the work of local authorities in Scotland.
M. Tauqeer Malik and John Wheeler of Aberdeen City Council and Gwyneth Petrie of Aberdeenshire Council were nominated in various categories at the 2021 Cllr Awards.
Last year, Aberdeen Council had considerable success at the ceremony, with Jenny Laing picking up the Leader of the Year title.
Mr Malik is up against five other local representatives – including three from Glasgow City Council – for the Community Champion award.
Thanking those who nominated him, the Labour councillor said: “I am absolutely delighted to be nominated for this prestigious award, and it was great news when I first saw the e-mail from them.
“I was so happy, whatever the outcome will be.”
Mr Malik, who represents the Lower Deeside ward, said he had spent the pandemic knocking on the doors of the more vulnerable members of the community and helping to distribute food parcels.
He added: “I would like to thank the community of Lower Deeside who have put so much faith in me.
“I still owe a lot to the great people of Lower Deeside, who elected the first ever ethnic councillor in 2012, and then in 2017, when my party was a bit on the backfoot, and everybody’s vote went down but mine went up about 45%.
“So, whatever I do for my community is not enough because I still owe a lot to them.”
Pair shortlisted for resilience award
Mr Wheeler, a Conservative who represents Kingswells, Sheddocksley and Summerhill, and Mrs Petrie, councillor for Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, are both up for the Resilience and Recovery award.
The award recognises not only efforts to rebuild after the pandemic, but also those attempting to solve “the big social issues that impact us all”, such as climate change and food security.
Mrs Petrie, who is the Aberdeenshire SNP group leader, said: “I grew up in Huntly, I moved away for a couple of years after I had my first son but was literally born and raised here and went to the school, so one of the things I love about being a councillor is I’m really invested in improving the town.
“I’ve got two children, an older teenager and a toddler, and there have been some issues in the town.
“I’m chairing the town team which is the regeneration project, and it’s been great working with the various community bodies and people.”
She added: “There’s been a real change in atmosphere locally, and being able to work together to see improvements in the town. It’s great to be able to be part of that as well.”
The Cllr Awards are organised by policy information service LGIU Scotland and specialist local authority fund manager CCLA.
Jonathan Carr-West, the chief executive of LGIU Scotland, said: “This year’s Cllr Awards shortlist showcases the best of local government.
“During a time when they have experienced unprecedented challenges and pressure, these councillors are true champions for local government and their communities.
“The last year has reminded each and every one of us of the effort and lengths to which councillors go to support their citizens.
“As such, we were overwhelmed by powerful stories and experiences coming through the nearly 100 nominations received for councillors across Scotland.”
The winners of the Cllr Awards will be revealed on Wednesday November 24.