THEY are the Capital’s unsung heroes, who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without the recognition they deserve.
But now, the Evening News has whittled down the city’s bravest and best to just a few, from hundreds of inspirational entries nominated by the public.
Judges have today announced their shortlist for this year’s Local Hero Awards and the finalists have been picked from 13 categories – including Inspirational Young Adult, Carer of the Year and School of the year.
Winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony in the Assembly Rooms on George Street, on Friday, May 27 – where more than 300 people will be in attendance.
Forth 1’s Grant Stott will be hosting the event and guests will see performances from a variety of entertainment acts including choir Soul Nation and former Bay City Roller Alan Longmuir. Among those nominated are heroes who appeared in the Evening News earlier this year.
Just weeks ago, we told how Heather Duff, 29, ran the London Marathon after a gruelling battle with a rare form of cervical cancer. Doctors told the Edinburgh Leisure employee to prepare for the worst but Heather remained positive and beat the odds. She is now participating in fundraising activities to raise money for Cancer Research and has been nominated for our Bravery Award.
Heather said: “It’s a huge honour to be shortlisted and completely unexpected – to be honest I don’t even feel like I’m worthy of it.
“I do what I do because I enjoy it but it’s absolutely wonderful to have been recognised.”
Evening News deputy editor Euan McGrory said: “Being involved in the judging process for the Local Heroes awards has been a humbling experience.
“Everyone who was nominated deserves an award so those who have made our final shortlist should be very proud. Their achievements deserve to be shouted from the rooftops and I am delighted we can give these true local heroes a little of the recognition they so richly deserve.”
THE NOMINEES IN FULL
INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG ADULT
TERRI SMITH: Dedicates her time to working with the city’s most vulnerable people. In recent years she has taken time to befriend the elderly, feed the homeless and work with young immigrants and asylum seekers to help them fit into the city’s communities.
EMMA SUTHERLAND: When her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma wrote a book about her experience to help other teenagers who were going through the same thing. She also volunteers for Its Good to Give and her local youth club. PAIGE PATERSON: After giving birth at a young age and experiencing difficulty, Paige has now turned her life around and is almost finished her first year at college. She has now been given a conditional offer to return for a more advanced course.
HEATHER DUFF: At the age of 27 Heather was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer and was told by doctors to prepare for the worst. After beating the odds, Heather is now using her experience to help others by taking part in fundraising activities all over the country for Cancer Research.
ERIN GILBERTSON: At the age of 11 Erin was diagnosed with Hyper Mobility Syndrome after she underwent heart surgery. Despite her condition, Erin enjoys fundraising for charity.
LESLEY STEPHEN: Lesley was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer in 2014. Since then, she has been tirelessly campaigning for breast cancer research in Scotland to give women hope of a better future.
BATHGATE COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS: A local group of volunteers who respond to 999 calls on behalf of the ambulance service in West Lothian. They fundraise to purchase their own equipment and dedicate their spare time to responding to life threatening calls.
EDINBURGH STREET ASSIST: Recently set up by volunteers of the local community, this group aims to look after people across the city on Friday and Saturday nights to ease the pressure on the ambulance service and A&E at the Royal infirmary.
JACQUELINE LAWSON: Jacqueline has put on the gala day in Wallyford for the last four years and runs the local playgroup. She keeps both going while having a full time job.
LOUISE WILSON and EMMA JAMIESON: The pair set up a young parents group in south Edinburgh but had to close it down due to a lack of funding. It was a group that was greatly appreciated by parents in the local area.
JUNO PERINATAL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT: A group of volunteers who all have personal experience of perinatal mental health difficulties. They support mums through a counselling service.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
BRYAN PATERSON: Headteacher at Trinity Academy. Nominated for his leadership of the school.
LYNSEY STEVENSON: Lasswade Primary School. Nominated for going above and beyond her call of duty to help pupils.
ABBY CHATHAM: Cornbank St James Primary School. Nominated for going above and beyond her call of duty to help pupils.
PETER ROBINSON: Since the death of his 14-year-old son in 2011, Peter has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of concussion in sport. He has met with politicians, sports executives and professional athletes.
ANGELA McCRIMMON: After battling with mental health problems and self harm for years, Angela has now transformed her life and is using her experience to help others.
JOHN MACAULAY: Dedicates hours of his time to volunteering for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and runs local cancer charity FACE.
CARER OF THE YEAR
SHERYL STEWART: Both of her sons suffer from the same muscle wasting disease – Duchenne muscular dystrophy – and she cares for them full time. Despite having to watch her boys deteriorate on a daily basis, she always has a smile on her face and shows bravery.
JULIE WRIGHT: Julie has worked as a carer at Drummond Grange since 2004. She goes above and beyond her call of duty to get to know the people she is caring for and make them happy.
LYNN ATCHISON: Works in hospitals looking after the elderly and works in the community as a care worker for JB Agency. She was nominated for being a favourite of many of her patients.
CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL SPORT
IAN BROWNLEE: The founder of the City of Edinburgh Volleyball club which is now Scotland’s largest club of this kind.
SPARTANS FOOTBALL ACADEMY: Spartans offer a range of free clubs for local children. Some of the kids go there instead of hanging around on the streets, and lots of the kids get extra education, meals and social education there.
PAUL MacGREGOR: Paul is a founder and the chairman of the Tranent and District community football club and Tranent and District community sports club.
FUNDRAISER OR VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
LOVE OLIVER: Andy and Jennifer Gill’s first son was born with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer and passed away on Christmas Day 2010. Since then, the couple have set up the charity and raised thousands for research into childhood cancer.
CRAIG CAMERON: Craig has dedicated a lot of his time to fundraising for Type 1 diabetes since his daughter was diagnosed with the condition.
LUKE ROBERTSON: Trekked to the South Pole on his own for charity.
NEIGHBOUR OF THE YEAR
FRAN GLEN: Gone above and beyond his call of duty to help his neighbour.
ELIZABETH MACLEOD: Helped out a neighbour significantly who suffers from dementia.
JIM LAING: Always willing to help out with neighbours’ emergencies.
SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
WESTCALDER HIGH SCHOOL
BRUNSTANE PRIMARY SCHOOL
CHILD OF ACHIEVEMENT
BROOKLYNE RANKINE: Taken part in various fundraising activities in aid of the CCLASP and Kai Laidlaw.
AMY DONALD: Amy is a pupil at Leith Academy and recently competed in the Youth & Philanthropy Initiative, working tirelessly with North Edinburgh Dementia care and won the competition.
GRACE WARNOCK: Grace is ten years old and suffers from Crohn’s disease. She came up with the Grace’s Sign initiative to help people with hidden conditions.
LOCAL HERO AWARD
Will be announced on the night.