Alford janitor wins unsung hero award

Jim Brander
Jim Brander

A janitor recognised for his hard work at a Donside school over the last 28 years has helped to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay into Grampian.

James (Jim) Brander has been recognised as Aberdeenshire Council’s Unsung Hero of 2012 at this year’s Employment Achievement Awards.

Jim, who retires from his post at Alford Academy later this year, is described by colleagues as a “genuine” North-east man with a strong commitment to his job, who is highly regarded by pupils, staff and the wider community.

As part of his Unsung Hero award, Jim was invited to the private reception to welcome the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay at Balmoral Castle on Monday.

He joined invited dignitaries for a private lunch, with entertainment from local musicians and school pupils, before watching the Olympic Flame arrive at the estate.

The Unsung Hero award goes to an employee who has gone the extra mile for the good of Aberdeenshire residents or fellow colleagues. It is designed to thank someone who works tirelessly and will take on tasks not assigned to them.

Speaking about his award, Jim said: “It was a lovely surprise. I was over the moon.

“They are a great bunch at the school, staff and pupils, and I will miss them when I leave later this year.”

Alford Academy head teacher Moira Milne said: “Jim has provided great support to the school, its staff and pupils over the past years.

“He is no ordinary janitor. There are many, many examples of how Jim has gone out of his way to support the school over the years. He has made a huge contribution.”

Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Colin Mackenzie said: “I am always impressed by the dedication demonstrated by staff I meet across Aberdeenshire and it is tremendous to have an opportunity through this awards scheme to recognise some of that hard work.

“I’m told that Jim is the kind of chap who just gets on with the task of snow clearing during any adverse weather, is key to the success of the school’s annual awards ceremony, provide work experience opportunities for pupils, help pupils to gain self-confidence and communication skills, and who works with PE staff to teach pupils Scottish country dancing.”