Local Hero Awards: Tracey Byrne in neighbour nomination

Terri Smith has been nominated. Picture: Toby Williams
Terri Smith has been nominated. Picture: Toby Williams
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A CARING neighbour who looked after an ailing resident when she was hospitalised is in line for a Local Hero award.

Tracey Byrne, 44, has been nominated for Neighbour of the Year by friend Rebecca Gibb – who insisted Tracey was the “best neighbour ever” and “an amazing woman.”

Rebecca said kindly Tracey – who has lived in the cottage next to hers for almost a year – had been “absolutely fab” when the 25-year-old was undergoing blood tests for cancer in January.

And when Rebecca was given the all-clear only to go on to develop kidney stones, Tracey made sure to visit the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary every day with clean clothes and snacks.

Rebecca, who works in the funeral industry, said: “She was with me one night when I got rushed to hospital by ambulance and stayed by my bed until 4am. But even if I had not been ill, she would still be great – she does a lot for me.

“Not only is she kind to me but she is kind and lovely to all the other neighbours round about. I would be lost without her. When I work late she puts some dinner in my fridge for me and she folds my laundry out of the tumble dryer.

“If I get in late she puts the lights and heating on in my home – sometimes even my electric blanket gets turned on.”

But modest Tracey, who lives in the village of Heriot in a cottage next door to Rebecca, said she was “embarrassed” to be put up for the award – and insisted: “I don’t do it for any recognition.”

Nominees for the Community Champion category of the Local Hero awards have also been announced, with eight hopefuls currently battling it out to grab the top gong.

One of those in line for the title is campaigner and up-and-coming politician Terri Smith, a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

The 20-year-old, from Granton, is currently suffering from a brain tumour and has seizures and lung problems, but hasn’t let her health stand in the way of providing a voice for some of the Capital’s most vulnerable youngsters.

Nancy Donaldson, 83, from Bonnyrigg, is also in the running after being nominated by her daughter for her volunteer work helping frail pensioners board the bus to the local shops and community club.

Other nominees include Peter Gooch, David Marshall, Thomas Lynch, Arthur Mathieson, Robina Brown and Ross Perfect.

A spokeswoman for McCarthy & Stone, which is sponsoring this year’s Neighbour of the Year award, said: “We are honoured to be this year’s category sponsor for the Neighbour of the Year Award.

“We have a number of developments in Edinburgh and the one thing they all have in common is a thriving community spirit created by our homeowners who provide each other with companionship and support, proving that good neighbours can indeed be invaluable.”

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.