Edinburgh Local Hero Awards 2021: Local hero who raised over £7 million for the NHS recognised at glitzy ceremony

The Capital’s pandemic heroes were recognised at a glittering awards ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, where the Evening News once again championed our great city’s community heroes at the annual Edinburgh Local Hero Awards.

By Liam Smillie
Friday, 10th December 2021, 3:45 pm
Left, Fundraiser of the Year Olivia Strong, with her mum, Laura.
Left, Fundraiser of the Year Olivia Strong, with her mum, Laura.

Among the big winners at Thursday’s event was fundraiser extraordinaire, Olivia Strong, who raised over £7 million for the NHS Charities Covid-19 appeal.

After last year’s show was virtual due to the coronavirus crisis, we made the most of the in-person event, offering a glitzy drinks reception for nominees and guests alike, graciously sponsored by Innis & Gunn.

This year’s show would not have been possible without our headline sponsor – @pizza, Edinburgh’s iconic pizza restaurant – and co-founder of the restaurant chain, Rupert Lyle, who presented the titular Edinburgh Local Hero Award.

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Compere Arlene Stuart takes to the stage at the Sheraton.

This year’s charity partner is Edinburgh cancer charity, Maggies, which raised nearly £2200 at the awards as guests generously donated for their raffle.

Bravery Award - sponsored by Porsche Centre Edinburgh

The first award this year was taken home by Sophie Walker, who has been fearlessly battling cancer since October 2017.

After months of grueling treatments during lockdown she is now in remission, and throughout it all she has managed to keep her smile and upbeat attitude.

Guests arrive for the glitzy ceremony.

Junior Local Hero - sponsored by Edinburgh Zoo

Michael Reilly and Logan Carr share the title of Junior Local Hero this year.

Michael started shaving his hair to support his dad with MS, then ran 5 kilometres every day for the entire month of June – Michael raised over £5k which was then used to fund physio therapy for ms sufferers.

Logan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, at a very young age – leaving him too weak to walk.

After months of treatment, he has gained his strength back, enough to even climb an indoor climbing wall.

Community Champion - sponsored by CityFibre

Margaret Pagliarulo won the award for her work building up Clovenstone Kitchen during lockdown, she also runs the community foodbank – feeding the people in our city who need it most.

Fundraiser of the Year

Olivia Strong won for setting up ‘Run For Heroes’ – a virtual fundraising challenge on social media which asked people to run 5k, donate £5 and nominate 5 others to do the same – raising over £7 million for the NHS Charities Covid-19 appeal.

Health Champion - sponsored by Bathing Mobility Advisory Service (BMAS)

Gary Amos won for setting up the Adam Amos Foundation in honour of his son, Adam, who died in January after taking fake xanax.

Amos now helps others with his team of volunteers, supporting people to work through their addictions.

Inspirational Young Adult - sponsored by Maggies

Jordan Thomson took home the award for his work with Street Soccer Scotland in providing free community football programmes for young people and adults – overcoming recent homelessness and supporting adults with learning difficulties.

Music & Arts Award - sponsored by Edinburgh Playhouse

Chief Radio won for their efforts in giving a platform to unsigned and independent musicians, featuring well over 250 unsigned artists and raising over £15,000 for local charities.

Neighbour of the Year

Angela Lennie for her unconditional support of her next door neighbour after their daughter was hospitalised for over three weeks.

Angela would take her neighbour to hospital day or night, watch their children, and offer support in any way she could - all while battling her own disability.

Sustainable School Award - sponsored by Scottish Power

Cramond Primary School was named the most sustainable school in Edinburgh this year for teaching children sustainable ideals, which has been applauded by pupils and parents alike.

Volunteer of the Year - sponsored by Maggies

David Flucker was this years volunteer of the year for his selfless efforts at St Columba’s Hospice charity shop in Ocean Terminal, despite being 99 years old.

Teacher of the Year - sponsored by Forth 1

Awarded to Bruce Murray for going above and beyond at his role as headteacher at new school Letham Mains.

Carer of the Year - sponsored by Gibson Kerr

Alison Morrison was named this years carer of the year, who cares for her in-laws, daughter, and mother, all while working as a community carer.

Edinburgh’s Local Hero - sponsored by @pizza

Without further adieu, Edinburgh’s Local Hero for 2021 is Olivia Strong for her unbelievable efforts in raising £7 million for the NHS in creating ‘Run for Heroes’ - especially in her work transforming the campaign into a charity body - inspiring Scots to get fit.

The Evening News would like to thank all nominees and winners for helping to make our city one of the best in the world – and to our sponsors, who allow us to recognise greatness in our community.

Euan McGrory, Editor of the Edinburgh Evening News, said: “It has been a long and hard two years for everyone since we were last able to safely hold a live event like this within the strict Covid guidelines in Scotland.

“What better reason could you have for getting together than to celebrate the amazing resilience, extraordinary acts of kindness and outstanding community spirit that we have seen across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“One thing that the pandemic has shown us is that most people genuinely care about others.

“It is one of the reasons that so many of us are queuing to get vaccinated and have followed the various lockdown rules so carefully.

“Time and again, we have also seen acts of kindness, both big and small, with some people going to extraordinary lengths to help others.

“I am delighted that – thanks to the support of our community-minded sponsors – we have been able to recognise some of those incredible individuals.”

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