A highly sought-after minibus will soon be helping hundreds of youngsters make their way to activities across the north-east.
Thousands of tokens were cut from editions of the Press and Journal between November and February by community groups hoping to win a 17-seater vehicle worth more than £40,000.
Almost 140,000 were sent in attached to entry forms, with one lucky winner being selected at the Kingswells offices of competition sponsors CNOOC International yesterday.
The P&J can now reveal that Buchan Battalion Boys’ Brigade will soon be receiving the keys to the Ford Transit, supplied by AM Philip.
Steven Wilson, captain of the Strichen company, hand-delivered 11,000 tokens as part of his group’s entry last week.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won.
“It will make an awful difference as we’re quite spread out across the north-east, with lots of smaller companies.
“We’d like to thank everyone who helped us collect these tokens.”
The battalion plans to give all Boys’ Brigade companies in the region access to the bus, with groups invited to book it.
In all, around 300 youngsters – and dozens of adult helpers – will benefit from the fantastic prize.
Mr Wilson added: “We’ll be starting a Duke of Edinburgh programme soon and for part of it they’ll need to do an expedition hike in somewhere like the Cairngorms.
“Previously getting them there and back was a nightmare, but this new minibus will make it a lot simpler and benefit the young folk and their parents.”
Ray Riddoch, CNOOC International managing director and senior vice president for Europe and Africa, said: “We believe in supporting the local community and I can’t think of a better way than by giving away a minibus through the Press and Journal.
“It’s a fantastic initiative and many different groups have benefited.”
He added: “I’m pleased for the winner this year as well – especially as I was in the Boys’ Brigade.
“Nowadays it’s about getting the young kids out and about and interested in various activities.
“It’s fantastic and this will help them enormously.”
Andrew Kellock, P&J deputy editor, added: “We’ve had an amazing response from groups all over the north and north-east of Scotland.
“Today is a great day and we have a group looking forward to taking delivery of the minibus. I’m sure they’ll do great things.
“We couldn’t do this without CNOOC International, who have been fantastic sponsors and have supported the community minibus campaign.”