Pride of Edinburgh Awards: Your finalists

Sheila and Freddie Buchanan. Picture: contributed

Sheila and Freddie Buchanan. Picture: contributed

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SIMPLY making the shortlist for the Pride of Edinburgh Award is an incredible achievement.

Hosted by Forth One DJ Grant Stott and featuring performances by The Voice star Anna McLuckie, Edinburgh Has Talent winner Saskia Eng and finalists Dansation, the event at the Assembly Rooms on George Street on Friday, May 16, will be a night to remember.

Tom Gilzean. Picture: Greg Macvean

Tom Gilzean. Picture: Greg Macvean

Over the next four pages we profile those who have made the shortlist, the ordinary people who do extraordinary things in our city.

Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell, who sat on the panel of judges, said: “The calibre of this year’s nominees has been very strong, and the individual stories so inspiring. These are people who work for their communities often without the recognition they richly deserve.

“Too often their courage and commitment goes unnoticed, except perhaps by those closest to them. This is our chance to tell them they have made a difference, and that our communities would be much poorer places without them. It is time to shine a light on them as they have for us.”

The awards, supported by main sponsor Lidl along with Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Central Taxis, and the City of Edinburgh Council, will be announced over 14 categories before the ultimate Pride of Edinburgh trophy is given to one person who stands out from all the rest.

Paul Weddell is a carer and volunteers at two disabled organisations. Picture: comp

Paul Weddell is a carer and volunteers at two disabled organisations. Picture: comp

Tickets cost £35 per person and are available by calling Rebecca Thompson on 0131-620 8212 or directly from www.dealmonster.co.uk/deal/the-scotsman-events/the-pride-of-edinburgh-awards-scotsman

Pride of Edinburgh Award

Shortlist: Sheila and Freddie Buchanan, Tom Gilzean, Paul Weddell

Sponsor: Edinburgh Airport

SIMPLY making the shortlist for the Pride of Edinburgh Award is an incredible achievement.

And the challenge for the judging panel could not be any more difficult. They face a choice between a wheelchair-bound war veteran who spends his days collecting for charity, committed foster parents who have dedicated their lives to helping others, and an exceptional carer with many years of volunteering under his belt.

Sheila and Freddie Buchanan have been foster parents for almost 30 years, and have also brought up seven children of their own.

They look after teenagers, not a popular age group among foster carers.

The couple, who live on Gilmerton Road, said they were “overwhelmed” to make the shortlist.

Freddie, 66, said: “We were surprised and a bit embarrassed to be nominated.

“We take on teenagers because it is quite difficult to get people to take them on. We feel we give them a break from a bad time in their lives and to give them a bit of normality until things settle down with their family.”

They say they have had to deal with “cheeky kids” and “awkward kids” but insist they have never looked after a really bad teenager.

Freddie added: “You have got to put yourself in their place and look into their background.

“We took on one boy who nobody else would take but we said ‘Let’s give him a chance’. He was a great laddie.”

War veteran and fundraiser Tom Gilzean, 93, is already well known across the city for collecting money on the Royal Mile every day, come rain or shine.

He has raised more than £100,000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation alone, as well as other charities and good causes in and around Edinburgh benefiting OAPs and veterans.

The former bus driver began fundraising to help beat depression after the death of his wife Anne in 2000. He told the Evening News previously that he would never stop fundraising: “I’m coming up for 94 so I’m not stopping now.”

At one time Paul Weddell was volunteering for around 20 charities but at the age of 59, he has scaled back slightly. He now volunteers for the No Limits Sports Club in West Lothian which caters for children and young people with disabilities, and also for Lothian Disability Sport which organises archery for the disabled at the Blackburn Community Centre.

Because his wife has MS, and his daughter cerebral palsy, he has been involved with many carers organisations over the years. Paul helped to develop the carers strategy which has since been adopted by the Scottish Government.

Raised in Leith, the former police officer now lives in Uphall.

He said: “I worked harder when I retired than when I was at work. I have been volunteering since I was 14 or 15.

“I am delighted to be nominated. It’s a great honour.”

999 hero

Shortlist: includes RNLI Lifeboat Station

Sponsor: Castle Fire & Security

SCOTLAND’S busiest inshore lifeboat station is among the emergency services nominated in the 999 hero award, which recognises those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew members at Queensferry have had to deal with all manner of emergencies over the years from plane crashes and burning boats to the more mundane and frustratingly regular calls to rescue people who have become stranded on Cramond Island.

The crews there have been presented with three awards for gallantry. Last year they were called out 49 times, rescuing 128 people. They are true heroes who are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to help a stranger. And what’s more they do it all for free and the love of the job – saving lives.

Carer of the year

Shortlist: Doreen Raeburn, Pappender Singh

Sponsor: Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation

This category recognises those who have cared for a friend or family member or have made personal sacrifices in order to tend to the needs of others.

Doreen Raeburn, 37, of Oxgangs is a full-time carer for her 77-year-old mother Jaqueline, who has been in a wheelchair after suffering from polio as a child.

But looking after her is never a chore, and the pair go to ice hockey and football matches together.

Doreen said: “It is nice to think that someone else appreciates me: I know she does.”

Pappender Singh, Musselburgh, has been caring for his wife who is in a wheelchair for the last four years. His daughter also suffers from junior arthritis, and he takes her regularly for treatment at the Sick Kids. He hasn’t had a break in this time but never complains.

Teacher of the year

Shortlist: Katie MacLennan,

John Naples-Campbell and Sheila Bremner

Sponsor: Edinburgh BioQuarter

Only truly inspiring teachers have made the shortlist in this category.

John Naples-Campbell, 33, a lecturer at Edinburgh College, turned his own experiences of homophobic bullying into a positive by using drama to combat prejudice in the classroom.

He recently became the first teacher to be awarded professional recognition from the General Teaching Council for Scotland for his work in this area.

Katie MacLennan, 34, from Leith, teaches drama at Wester Hailes Education Centre. She said she was flattered at her nomination, adding: “I enjoy working with the young people.” Also on the shortlist, Sheila Bremner, 53, of Corstorphine – a teacher at Broomhouse Primary for the last 17 years – who was “surprised” to be nominated for doing what she loved.

Community champion

Shortlist: Russell Easton, Robert Pearson, Archie Johnston

Sponsor: STV Edinburgh app

Russell Easton, 39, of Colinton, has volunteered for various groups including the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

A regular first aid volunteer through the St Andrew’s Ambulance Service, he also set up the Pentlands Edge Tenants Residents Association. He said “I feel privileged to be nominated because it gives recognition to these groups.”

Archie Johnston, 77, of Cockenzie, is active in promoting the Forth’s fishing industry. He said he was happy to be nominated, adding that it was a “big surprise”.

Robert Pearson, 32, of West Pilton, works full time for the Scottish Ambulance Service and spends up to 20 hours a week volunteering. He set up the Muirhouse Community Shop and is chairman of the residents’ association.

He said: “I love to do these things so I don’t feel I am doing anything

special.”

Child of achievement

Shortlist: Amy MacBeath, Kyla Grace Forsyth and Saskia Eng

Sponsor: Lothian Buses Family Day Ticket

AMY MacBeath was born three months premature, and suffers from cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus.

But the courageous eight-year-old from Bonnyrigg in Midlothian has refused to allow her condition to stop her from taking on physical challenges to raise money for the Sick Kids and Thornton Rose Riding for the Disabled.

She said: “I wanted to raise money for the Sick Kids hospital to help lots of other children like me and I was determined to show people that I can do lots even though my legs don’t want to.”

Taking on a Triple Challenge, she raised £4255 for the Sick Kids, and £350 for Thornton Rose RDA.

When Kyla Grace Forsyth was also born prematurely, she fitted in the palm of her mother’s hand was given a one-in-750,000 chance of survival.

Now the partially-sighted six-year-old goes to school in south Edinburgh and is involved in the Rainbows.

Her proud mum said: “She’s a phenomenal child and has achieved so much.”

Edinburgh Has Talent winner Saskia Eng, 12, of Murrayfield, has used her vocal talents to raise money for charities. The only singer from outside the US to help raise money following the Sandy Hook Massacre, she is also due to record another charity album in August.

Dad Tony said: “She’s a whirlwind. Nothing fazes her.”

Bravery award

Shortlist: Alexander Duncan and

Brahim Bensadik

Sponsor: Omni

AT four years old, Alexander Duncan showed a maturity that would be remarkable in someone twice his age.

The quick-thinking Clermiston youngster reacted decisively when his grandmother stumbled over a chair with her baby nephew in her arms, breaking her arm.

He not only phoned his auntie and his grandfather but also sprinted to a neighbour’s house to tell them what had happened. Alexander’s mum Kirsty, 30, said:

“I was so proud of him”

Morocco-born Brahim Bensadik, 47, has been deaf from a young age but at the age of 18 made the brave decision to come to this country to learn sign language. His wife Emma Saddler, 34, nominated him because of his “sheer determination” and because he refused to let his disability get in the way of his life or career.

Sporting achievement

Shortlist: Samera Ashraf, Ellie McGinty and Josh Taylor

This category recognises individuals who have proven outstanding in a specific sporting field.

Kickboxer Samera Ashraf, 30, of Leith, has recently won the Scottish Asian Women’s Award.

She now hopes to get a Pride of Edinburgh award under her martial arts belt.

She said: “That award meant a lot to me but to be nominated in my own city is such an honour.”

Ellie McGinty, 16, of Silverknowes, has been competing for Edinburgh Athletics Club for seven years and has won many medals. Last year, she was diagnosed with diabetes but despite her condition is back in training at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.

In the last seven years Lochend and GB Podium boxing star Josh Taylor, 23, of Prestonpans, has won a bronze medal in the Youth Commonwealth Games, a silver 2010 Commonwealth Games and a place in the London 2012 Olympics. He is going for gold in Glasgow 2014 and has inspired many youngsters to take up sport.

Student of the year

Shortlist: Jessica Dineley and Kerry Renwick

Sponsor: Queen Margaret University

THIS award recognises individuals who have achieved outstanding success in the education system and who are aged 13 and over. Cerebral palsy sufferer Jessica, 18, has astounded friends and family with how quickly she has been able to master state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology.

Her mother Veronica, 52, of Leith Links, said: “I think she deserves it because

she has worked really hard.”

Kerry Renwick, who attends Wester Hailes Education Centre, has been selected to represent the school as a baton bearer for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

She is involved with various sports and has been delivering dance lessons to local primary pupils as part of the Leading Dance initiative. This has involved helping pupils to gain confidence though dance.

Health champion

Shortlist: Pauline Waugh, Janice Thomson, Andy and Kellie Anderson

Sponsor: Lidl Health Factor

Practice nurse Pauline Waugh, of Davidson’s Mains, has worked tirelessly in her own time to secure funding for a choir for people with a debilitating breathing condition.

This is the first of its kind in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

MS sufferer Janice Thomson of Port Seton, meanwhile, has worked to help others with the condition, setting up exercise classes in the local community adapted for people with long-term health conditions.

Andy Anderson, 45, has been centre head at Maggie’s Edinburgh for 14 years while his wife Kellie, 50, advises on nutrition.

Andy, of Barnton Park Grove, said: “It is a great honour to be nominated. This is an award for the centre not just for the two of us.”

Fundraiser/volunteer of the year

Shortlist: Lynne McNicoll, Dean Reilly, John Barclay and Cathy Thompson

Sponsor: Scottish Blood Transfusion Service

Dean Reilly, 33, of Millerhill, has organised a charity match against legendary boxer Steve Collins to raise funds for fellow MS sufferers.

He said it was “humbling” that someone had taken the time to nominate him.

Lynne McNicoll, 57, of Craiglockhart, is the co-founder of It’s Good 2 Give. She started fundraising in December 2005 when she was 49, setting herself a challenge to raise £50,000 for a young person’s cancer charity before she reached 50. She raised £54,000 and the following three years raised another £650,000 before forming her charity. She said: “I adore this my home city, and it’s lovely to be shortlisted.”

Also nominated are John Barclay and Cathy Thompson. They are volunteers at the Enable Centre which hosts activities for people with learning disabilities.

Neighbour of the year

Shortlist: includes Pip Wallen Priestly

Sponsor: Edinburgh Castle

ARMED only with his trusty claw stick and a dislike of rubbish, Pip Wallen Priestly has declared a one-man war on litter.

The 58-year-old from Maritime Street regularly patrols Leith Links and the Water of Leith picking up other people’s mess, his trusty Border terrier Mouse playing happily at his side.

He said: “I’m a bit of a crusader. I don’t think there’s any need for it.”

He added: “I was chuffed to be nominated and felt rather privileged. I like the place to be tidy but if someone appreciates what I am doing then that’s great.”

He was given a rubbish grabber for a birthday present by his partner and has described it has the best gift he has ever received.

Originally from Australia, has lived in Edinburgh for the past 25 years, 11 of those in Leith.

Inspirational young adult

Shortlist: Nicole Gray, Marcus Glancy

Sponsor: Costa

Nicole Gray, 20, from Musselburgh, suffers from asthma so severe she has had 39 hospital admissions in the past year.

She is also prone to seizures and allergies, and was advised not to go to university because of her condition.

But the former James Gillespie’s High School pupil was so determined to fulfil her dream and is and is now studying psychology at Edinburgh Napier University.

She said: “I don’t tend to let my health issues get in the way of doing the things that I want to do.”

Outdoor instructor Marcus Glancy, 17, of North Edinburgh, couldn’t believe it when he found out he had been nominated after volunteering for FetLor youth centre and the Muirhouse Youth Development Group. He worked initially as a helper but more recently as a youth worker.

CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL SPORT

Shortlist: Terry McCormack, Brendan Brodie and Fiona MacKenzie, Stephanie Lynch

Sponsor: Fit in ’14

This category recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution and dedicated themselves to sport over a number of years.

Terry McCormack, 49, has been nominated after setting up the Lochend Boxing and Fitness club with his wife, Jacqui, seven years ago.

Terry, of Blackie Road, who took up boxing as a child and then “fell into” coaching, said he was “surprised and delighted” to be nominated.

Stephanie Lynch, of Magdalene, has coached Scotland national squads for under 12 and under 13 basketball teams and also coaches several national league teams. She has helped several youngsters achieve places in national squads, and has increased participation in sport.

Stephanie has also formed a basketball club in the Niddrie area for less privileged youngsters.

Brendan Brodie and Fiona MacKenzie have been running from Westwoods Health Club for more than ten years.

Qualified Jogscotland coaches, they bring people of all ages, shapes, and walks of life together to realise their potential.