IN FULL: The Inspiring Aberdeenshire 2019 winners

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The Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards have recognised a group which welcomed scores of refugees to the area, a woman who has taught dancing for more than 60 years and a teenager who raised thousands of pounds to help bereaved parents.

They were among dozens of winners whose contributions to the region were recognised during a heartwarming ceremony organised by Aberdeenshire Council at Haddo House.

Nearly 200 nominations were submitted from across the region, as people sought to have the efforts of various worthy candidates recognised.

The stories of bravery and achievements were interspersed with performances from local groups including the Auchterellon Primary choir and traditional folk band the Rowies.

Aden Community Allotments came away with the Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental award only four years after coming together.

Other winners included Clara Gray from Lumphanan, who won the Aberdeenshire’s Future award for her passion for her community.

The Inspirational Volunteer award went to photographer Amy Muir, of Ballater, who spearheaded the start of the Deeside village’s farmers market.

Turriff 15-year-old, Katie McDonald, won the Local Hero Courage prize for aiming to break the taboo around talking about baby-loss.

Katie spurred on her mum and dad to raise thousands of pounds for specialist equipment which will be used in hospitals in Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness after they lost their newborn child.

The Cuddlecot kits will allow others in the same situation to spend more precious moments with their babies before they are buried or cremated.

Katie helped raise almost £7,000 for the cause.

Provost of Aberdeenshire, Bill Howatson, said: “Inspiring Aberdeenshire is always a fantastic event that we are all proud to be part of.

“It is a real honour to see all the nominations and read about the inspiring work of our unsung heroes.”

The Heart of Aberdeenshire Caring award went to the Aberdeenshire Refugee Resettlement Team for welcoming almost 200 people to the area.

Alixa Gunn, of Fraserburgh, won the Cultural award for teaching dance for more than 63 years.

The Community Spirit prize went to Keith Jensen for his involvement in the Sandpiper Wildcat project, which helps get medical assistance to people in need as quickly as possible.

Mr Howatson said: “Each year we hear more wonderful stories about the community champions throughout Aberdeenshire.

“My sincere thanks to everyone who helped make these awards happen, and to the winners and finalists for their sterling efforts.”

The final prize of the evening went to Alison Young from Ellon, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for representing her community.

She recently retired as music director at Ellon Parish Church after 30 years, and is heavily involved with other music groups as well as being fundamental in providing support to the Syrian refugees who recently settled in the town.


  • Clara Gray – Aberdeenshire’s Future Award
  • Amy Muir – The Inspirational Volunteer Award
  • Aberdeenshire Refugee Resettlement Team – The Heart of Aberdeenshire Caring Award
  • Alixa Gunn – The Cultural Award
  • Aden Community Allotments – The Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental Award
  • Katie McDonald – Local Hero Courage Award
  • Keith Jensen – The Community Spirit Award
  • Alison Young – Lifetime Achievement Award