Local Hero Awards: Ann Budge nominated

Ann Budge in the dugout at Tynecastle. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ann Budge in the dugout at Tynecastle. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Hearts owner Ann Budge is in line for a Local Hero Award for “bringing the heart back to Tynecastle.”

She took control of the Edinburgh club last May – after Hearts were relegated from top flight – paying a £2.5m fee that allowed them to exit a year-long period of administration.

There is also a strategy in place for her to hand the club over to the fans’ group, Foundation of Hearts, within a three to five year period.

She has been nominated in the Contribution to Local Sport category – alongside a dedicated volunteer coach nominated for his work with a special needs football team.

Jason Ronaldson set up the team for Salvesen FC about a year ago.

The 42-year-old salesman from Livingston has been nominated by Louise Smith, the mother of one of the boys he coaches.

She said was “amazing” how much the children had come on and how much they enjoy the sessions.

Louise added: “He gives up his free time every fortnight for an hour and the children all love and respect him although it’s not an easy challenge for him.

“He recently bought them all strips so they feel more like team. He totally deserves this award as he’s made our special children feel special.”

The team meets at Forrester High School every fortnight, and has been up and running for about a year now.

Jason was “surprised” to be nominated and said the smile on the children’s faces when they scored a goal was the best part of his role.

He said: “The disability side of the Scottish Football Association approached us and I said ‘Let’s give it a try and see how we get on’. We have just kept going. The numbers have not been great but that doesn’t bother me. We have a hardcore of about six or seven.

“It is rewarding, and I go away feeling quite satisfied.

“They just want to play games. You can see improvement – they have really advanced – and they just love it.

“You can see the delight on their faces when they score. We have got a wee celebration when they high-five parents or do a dance.”

Jason stressed he couldn’t have achieved it without help from his fellow coach Lynne Sharkey, who is also hugely popular with the children.

How To Nominate

The Local Hero Awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday, June 5 at the Assembly Rooms.

The easiest way to nominate someone is to visit www.localheroaward.co.uk

This website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter and tell us all about your nominee.

If you would prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Local Hero Awards, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH4 2HS.

Entries must include your name, address and telephone number. Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award.

The closing date for nominations is Tuesday, May 5.