FUNDRAISING heroes Lynne McNicoll and Jak Trueman were among those honoured at the annual Radio Forth Awards - where Scottish chart-toppers Travis, American pop sensation Charlie Puth and The Voice winner Steve McCrorie all made surprise appearances.
On an emotional afternoon at the Usher Hall, the audience rose to their feet in recognition of the campaigns they inspired and the hundreds of thousands of pounds their efforts had generated.
Ms McNicoll, founder of children’s cancer charity “It’s Good to Give,” was surprised with the Cash for Kids Award just weeks before she is due to collect an OBE from Buckingham Palace from the Queen.
She raised more than £650,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the space of four years, before setting up her own charity, which went on to raise
The 58-year-old, from Craiglockhart, in Edinburgh, has continued her fundraising efforts with the charity despite being diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.
Ms McNicoll hopes work will begin next year on a respite centre the charity, which has raised £1.3 million to date, is planning for the banks of Loch Lomond.
A hush fell over the audience as a video tribute was aired in honour of 15-year-old Jak, from West Calder, who raised £40,000 in the final week of his life before dying of a rare form of blood cancer earlier this year.
He had been documenting his life and treatment on social media for the previous six months.
A charity set up in his name by Jak’s family to help create retreats for children affected by cancer went on to raise nearly £130,000.
An emotional Ms McNicoll, who set up a charitable trust after her stepson Andrew was killed in a cycling accident, told the audience: “This journey started 10 years ago this month.
“It has been the most amazing journey of my life. Volunteering is fantastic, do it if you can, do it for any charity.”
She later told the Evening News: “I began fundraising when I was coming up to my 49th birthday and I just wanted to do something a bit different. I’d only done a sponsored walk around Inverleith Park before. I chose the Teenage Cancer Trust because they weren’t well known. All the other charities seemed to be well known. They were kind of the underdog.”
Ms McNicoll discovered a lump on her breast on Hogmanay and was diagnosed in mid-January. However after six months of chemotherapy she has been told no further treatment is needed for now.
She added: “I couldn’t go out to celebrate when I heard I had been awarded the OBE in June, as it was only two days after my chemo. I had to celebrate with scrambled egg on toast. But it’ll pretty special when I got to get it in London next month.”
Jak’s mum Alison, who accepted the Local Hero award on her son’s behalf with his sister Aimie, said: “I would never wish this upon anybody, it has just been horrific. But he has inspired so many people and has left us an amazing legacy.”
Speaking backstage, she said: “I was in total shock when I realised Jak had won the award. I was almost lost for words. It was very poignant.
“We’re about to open the first Jak’s Den in Livingston on 11 December, but we are actually hoping to raise £3.3 million for a really big one.”
Around 2000 music fans and invited guests packed into the Usher Hall, for the 12th annual ceremony, presented by Grant Stott and Arlene Stuart. The appearance by Travis, who won a Forth Icon Award, sparked an all-female stage invasion when they played their anthemic hit Why Does It Always Rain Me?
Other guest appearances during the show included comedy favourites Craig Hill and Stephen K Amos, the latter of whom won the Forth Fringe Award.
The show was rounded off in style by the winner of the special contribution to music award, claimed by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, who had the crowd on their feet with classic Beautiful South and Housemartins hits like Caravan of Love and Perfect 10.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
FORTH BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD
FORTH COMMUNITY VENTURE AWARD
FORTH BEST BAR
The Boozy Cow
FORTH BEST RESTAURANT AWARD
FORTH BEST TEACHER AWARD
Paul Fleming, Kinneil Primary, Falkirk
FORTH CASH FOR KIDS AWARD
FORTH FRINGE AWARD
Stephen K Amos
FORTH CONTRIBUTION TO SPORT AWARD
FORTH LOCAL HERO AWARD - THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS
FORTH ICON AWARD
FORTH CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC AWARD
Paul Heaton and Jaqui Abbott
FORTH BEST ARTIST AWARD