Finalists revealed for the Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards 2021

Four Deeside individuals and groups have made the finals of this year’s Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 3:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 3:59 pm
Broadcaster and journalist Fiona Stalker and Provost Bill Howatson presented last year's awards in a virtual ceremony, and this year's Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards will again take place online.

The awards, now in their ninth year, recognise unsung community heroes of Aberdeenshire, those people who work tirelessly to support their community and the people in it, but who often don’t get recognised any other way.

The finalists are:

Inspirational Volunteer award – Heather Cook

Heather’s work is a catalogue of selfless community volunteering spanning 20 years. It started with swim coaching at the Westhill swim club, progressed into setting up an after-school athletics club for primary kids, starting a local 'Jog Scotland' group, re-establishing the local Duke of Edinburgh scheme, becoming a carer and organising the local Senior Citizens club (which might have come to an end otherwise). People of all ages and backgrounds have benefited, in some way or another, from Heather's selfless volunteering, and she is a real community star.

Cultural award – Paul Anderson

Paul has dedicated his career to the promotion of Scottish Fiddle Music, particularly music and culture from the North-east of Scotland. He has taught fiddle all over the world, performed globally and promotes North-east culture and music in everything he does.

Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental award – Dee Catchment Partnership

The Dee Catchment Partnership has been at the heart of efforts to restore the path of Beltie Burn which feeds into the River Dee, and in turn restore local wildlife and prevent flooding. The restoration markedly improved the flooding issues and nature has made its way back too. All thanks to the efforts of these dedicated indivduals.

Local Hero Courage award – Amanda Jane Taylor known as AJ McLovely

Amanda Jane, or AJ as she is known, suffered the worst kinds of loss and struggle around the start of the pandemic. She lost her father, her marriage ended, she lost her home and hit rock bottom. But from the ashes she found courage and strength through music. She began singing live online and realised she had created a space to be open about mental health issues and help others. She is a selfless young lady inside and out and deserves recognition for all she continues to do.

Provost of Aberdeenshire, Cllr Bill Howatson said: “It is tremendous to see Inspiring Aberdeenshire coming back this year. I strongly believe that now, more than ever, it is essential for us to show how much we appreciate the role people play in communities across Aberdeenshire. What makes ‘Inspiring’ stand out from the rest for me, is that it is a platform to find our unsung heroes. Time and again we discover winners who have been working tirelessly for many years but do not get the praise they deserve; this is their moment.

The awards will be handed out at a virtual live-streamed ceremony in August.