Forth Awards: Community heroes join stars

Scouting For Girls singer Roy Stride with members of the audience on stage. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Scouting For Girls singer Roy Stride with members of the audience on stage. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A GIANT conga line snaked across a star-studded stage as Scouting For Girls closed the Forth Awards in style.

As the chart-toppers belted out their best-known hit, She’s So Lovely, they could have been signing about Strictly Come Dancing star Pixie Lott, who stole the show and 
melted hearts at the Usher Hall.

Pixie Lott. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Pixie Lott. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Pixie, who had the crowd on their feet with her song All About Tonight, even brought her Australian dancing partner Trent Whiddon along for his first visit to Scotland.

Edinburgh rockers Pilot made a special appearance to perform their 1975 number one hit Magic – the first song ever played on Radio Forth. But it was the conga which provided the lasting memory at the 11th annual extravaganza, which saw community heroes mix with celebrities.

Synth legends Erasure opened the show with a bang, delivering a knock-out performance of A Little Respect before being handed the Forth Icon award by Arlene Stuart.

Irish comedian Andy Maxwell then had the audiences in stitches with a 15-minute stand-up set, and was presented with the Forth Fringe award for 20 memorable years at the festival.

Gritty newcomer George Ezra took home two awards for Best Performance and Best Artist. The 21-year-old songwriter exploded on to the music scene last year with his debut album, and has since racked up top-ten singles in ten countries, and is currently in the middle of his third sold-out UK tour.

Scouting for Girls closed the show in style after bagging the Contribution to Music award.

But amid the stardust, the real champions were the community award winners, who took home prizes for sterling work which rarely enjoys or seeks the spotlight.

Amongst them was 
11-year-old Neve Johnston, who captivated the audience with her infectious sense of humour and her huge heart as she explained how she has raised hundreds of pounds for charity Cash For Kids.

Neve, who suffers from brittle bone disease Osteogenesis Imperfect, has spent more than a year gathering donations so the charity’s team of Clown Doctors can brighten up the lives of young patients at the Sick Kids hospital.

“The Clown Doctors come in to try and make children feel better about having to spend so much time inside of a hospital, because it can be scary,” she said.

“It’s an important project because it makes them smile.”

The Best Teacher award went to Murrayburn Primary School head Catherine Lynch, while volunteers at The Big Project in Broomhouse landed the Community Venture award.

“Our programme is all about encouraging young people and providing them with ways to express their views and be heard,” said project manager Sascha Macleod.

“It’s taken people a little while to realise that we’re here and what we’re doing, but it’s really humbling that The Big Project is finally starting to receive recognition for that work.”

Rose Street hostelry Element was named Best Bar/Restaurant, while champion judoka Euan Barton accepted an award on behalf of the entire Scottish Commonwealth Games team for Contribution to Sport.

The Evening News-backed Local Hero award went to Russell Easton, from Colinton, who has spent the last 25 years working with a host of community groups around the Capital.

Cathy Kirk, commercial director for Bauer, Radio Forth’s parent company, said: “The real stars of the show were the community award winners.”