Pride of Edinburgh: Pip’s anti-litter quest

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THEY are the people whose often unheralded work can help make the world we live in a little bit better.

From cleaning up litter to helping at a local charity shop, they are a vital part of the city’s fabric are about to be rightly reawarded in the Evening News-backed Pride of Edinburgh Awards.

There’s still time to nominate people for a number of categories, including Neighbour of the Year and Volunteer or Fundraiser of the Year.

Pip Wallen-Priestley, 58, of Leith, has been nominated for the Neighbour of the Year award after his neighbours noticed his dedication to combating litter in Leith Links.

The chef and owner of catering business Polochef has fed the likes of Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson and even Princess Anne.

He was nominated by neighbour, Lucy Gray, who said Mr Wallen-Priestley was “perfect” for the award because he was so “selfless”.

She said: “I just think what a great example to set and what a great thing to do.”

The Australian, who has lived in Edinburgh for 11 years, said he was “very passionate” about Leith because “it’s a ­fabulous place”.

He said: “My wife bought me one of those geriatric pick-up sticks but it actually makes picking up litter very cool.”

He’s also starting to combat dog fouling and wants the residents to take pride in the area.

“In our culture in Australia we are just brought up from children to know you just don’t litter,” he added. “This is about pride in yourself and your self-worth and self-esteem.”

The Neighbour of the Year award is sponsored by Edinburgh Castle and is one of 13 separate awards, including Volunteer or Fundraiser of the Year, in the competition in conjunction with Lidl.

Nick Finnigan, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle said: “The Pride of Edinburgh Awards recognise some of the city’s unsung heroes and I am delighted that Edinburgh Castle is sponsoring the Neighbour of the Year category. The award ­recognises someone who has gone the extra mile for their community, truly embodying what it is to be a good ­neighbour.”

Also nominated is Shyamali Das-Bharadwa, 52, of Musselburgh, who is in the running for the Volunteer or Fundraiser of the Year.

Mrs Das-Bharadwa was nominated for her tireless work in her local Oxfam shop where she is a team leader every ­Saturday.

She was nominated by fellow volunteer, Bronwyn Matthew, 44, of Musselburgh, who said Mrs Das-Bharadwa was “the life and soul” of the shop and an “amazing person with an amazing personality”.

Originally from India, Mrs Das-Bharadwa came to ­Edinburgh seven years ago when she met her husband, Satish, 57, and became a ­British citizen in 2011.

She said volunteering had changed her life and the staff had become her “extended family”.

She currently works for Museum Galleries Scotland and has also started volunteering with other organisations.

“I feel very good that I’m able to contribute something,” she said. “If I won the lottery tomorrow I would leave my job and I would just volunteer.

“I think everyone should volunteer somewhere just so they don’t forget their roots and keep that humility in them.”

The Volunteer or Fundraiser of the Year award has been sponsored by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS).

Vincent Mooney, Edinburgh Donor Services Manager says, “SNBTS are delighted to sponsor the Fundraiser or Volunteer of the Year in the Pride of Edinburgh Awards, recognising the many citizens of Edinburgh who give of their time selflessly to help others in need. We rely heavily on our many volunteers who support us in their local community, helping to publicise our blood donor sessions and who come along and help to welcome blood donors and serve them refreshments after giving blood.”

How to nominate

THE Pride of Edinburgh awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16, at the Assembly Rooms.

The easiest way to nominate someone for The Pride of Edinburgh Awards is by visiting www.prideofedinburgh.co.uk

This dedicated website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter, as well as allowing you to tell us all about your nominee.

If you prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Pride of Edinburgh Awards, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS. 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 entries is Monday, April 21.

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