27 October 2020

Inspiring Aberdeenshire 2020 winners revealed

27 October 2020

Nearly four months after the event was originally due to be held, the winners of Inspiring Aberdeenshire were announced at a virtual ceremony tonight.  


Inspiring Aberdeenshire is held in June each year to celebrate the work of communities who are not often recognised anywhere else for their dedication and community spirit. Awards are handed out in a range of categories including community spirit, lifetime achievement and courage, to name just three of the eight. 


People were nominating their friends and family across Aberdeenshire late in 2019, and the awards were meant to be held in person in June at Haddo House. When it became clear that running the event “live” was not going to be an option, the team got to work preparing a virtual ceremony, held on 27 Oct online and hosted by local broadcaster Fiona Stalker alongside Aberdeenshire Provost Cllr Bill Howatson. 


As many as 260 people watched the event, among them finalists, performers, their families councillors and sponsors. 


Speaking after the event wrapped up, Provost Howatson said: “This has been a year like no other, and the importance of our communities has been in the spotlight more than ever. The nominations for Inspiring Aberdeenshire this year were made before COVID-19 arrived and turned our lives upside down, but the pre-pandemic stories still need to be told and heard. We were determined to run this event and celebrate the people who make Aberdeenshire tick and the team did us proud making sure we could all come together and celebrate. My huge thanks to everyone who had a role in making this event happen. Whilst it is not new to run virtual award ceremonies, it was certainly new for us. 


“It is also really incredible to see the work that is still being done, day to day, to improve life for people in all corners of Aberdeenshire. The work of the finalists is extraordinary and my most sincere thanks for everything you do.”


The winners are: 


Aberdeenshire’s Future Award  


Thomas Truby 


Thomas started picking litter in Torphins where he lives, and the more he collected the more passionate he became about the environment in his area. He started The Rubbish Club and it now reaches more than 2,600 people on Facebook. When he isn’t in school, he spends his time setting up community initiatives and giving talks in schools, mobilising other young people to take action. Not only has he worked with the Aberdeenshire Council Waste team at recycling events, he has also been approached by other local authorities to help with their campaigns. A real champion and an example of the power that young people have to help us deliver real change. 


Inspirational Volunteer Award  


Relay for Life Peterhead Committee 


Put simply, the Relay for Life committee have, since 2001 raised a staggering sum for Cancer Research. Their outstanding commitment to running and promoting the 24-hour relay event in Peterhead has generated £2 million for the cause. Each person on the committee volunteers their own time to get together, recognising their collective power to help play a part. Whilst everyone involved has their own life experience of the disease, they work tirelessly to recruit new members, promote the event, and raise as much money as they can, whilst honouring the memories of those taken too soon. The Relay for Life committee are true warriors in the battle against cancer. 


Heart of Aberdeenshire Caring Award 


Portlethen Home Care Team 


The team is made up of 10 carers, who cover the Portlethen, Newtonhill and Muchalls areas. Each member of the team goes over and above every day to keep the standard of care exceptional in their area, for services users with a range of conditions from Motor Neurone Disease to Parkinson’s and others. The last few years have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases where end-of-life care is required, and this team provide a valuable support to users and their families in the most challenging circumstances. The nomination describes their dedication and commitment which is truly inspiring. 


Cultural Award  


Joint winners – Iona Fyfe and Chris Reid  


Iona Fyfe 


Iona, from Huntly, is a well-known singer, becoming better known across the globe for her part in keeping North east culture and music alive. She has a passion for promoting Doric songs and stories and performs ballads and folk songs from across Aberdeenshire. She has sold out Edinburgh Fringe Shows, and has performed in Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Germany among others. Closer to home, she continues to teach workshops and perform in Aberdeenshire as a positive role model for traditional music. In a review of her latest album it was said that “the future of traditional music from the North east of Scotland is in very safe hands”.


Chris Reid 


Over the last 36 years, Chris has been the driving force behind the Fraserburgh Heritage Society, as a dedicated and proactive leader. From small beginnings organising local history exhibitions, the group has grown to over 100, promoting the history of the north east town through the Heritage Centre and beyond. Chris has driven that change. She has responsibility for recruiting volunteers, staffing the Heritage Centre, social media, record keeping and curation. The Centre is valuable to visitors young and old and was described as a blueprint for other community-led attractions throughout the country by VisitScotland - none of that would have been possible without Chris and her hard work. 


Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental Award  


Marion Montgomery 


Marion set up the PAWS ON PLASTIC group in Stonehaven in 2018. The aim is simple, to encourage dog walkers to pick up just one or two pieces of plastic every time they are out on a walk, take them home and recycle them. Her belief is that small steps like this, regularly, can make a big difference. Despite being new, the group has more than 10,000 Facebook followers alone and users post pictures of their efforts from across the globe, as well as pictures of their dogs! In her mind it isn’t about large litter picks, just small sustainable change that leads to big results. 


Local Hero Courage Award 


Paul Cheyne 


Paul and his family were at Balmedie beach in August last year when they were alerted to a young boy in trouble in the water. The boy and his older brother had gone out on bodyboards, but the tide took the nine-year-old out further than was safe and he began getting into difficulty. Without a second thought and wearing just the shorts and t-shirt he was standing in, Paul swam out and rescued the boy, taking him to safety in deeper calm water before bringing him to shore to his relieved family. Speaking in the nomination form, the young boy’s family say that Paul will forever hold a special place in their hearts, and they know they can never fully repay his bravery.  


Community Spirit  


Pieter voor de Poorte 


Peter moved to the village of Catterline 15 years ago and has become established in the community, but it is his work with the Catterline Braes Action Group which has earned him this nomination. Pieter stepped in to help when the Braes were badly damaged in a storm. He made links with a group of academics in Glasgow researching ways of tackling coastal erosion environmentally, has researched the problem and doggedly sourced necessary materials. He has replaced paths, mobilised the community, stabilised the land in front of threatened homes in the village and done it all in the most environmentally friendly way possible. The residents of the community feel sure none of this would have been possible without him.  


Inspiring Aberdeenshire Lifetime Achievement Award 


Brian McCann 


Brian comes from a care experienced background and the feelings he had when he was growing up have never left him. As a result he put that experience to the best possible use and has been volunteering with the Children’s Panel for more than 20 years from where he lives in Fraserburgh. Over the years he has done everything to ensure young people get the best possible chance and has put children first in everything he does. In his various roles he has steered the panel group through a number of challenges, from legislative change to training to recruitment and gives up his own time freely to support young people. He is an exceptional volunteer with an exceptional heart, but would always shy away from the praise he deserves. He is described as the heart of the Aberdeenshire Panel (something the nomination said would make him cringe). A huge thank you Brian, you have helped change lives.


 The full list of finalists can be found on the Inspiring page of the Aberdeenshire Council website: www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/inspiring