Local heroes and music legends celebrated at Forth Awards in Edinburgh

Heroes, artists and volunteers were recognised from across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife yesterday at the annual Forth Awards.

Sophie Ellis Bextor was the surprise final act
Sophie Ellis Bextor was the surprise final act

Ten awards in total were handed out, six for community winners and four for entertainment as nominated and voted for by Radio Forth’s loyal listeners.

The Usher Hall was transformed for a black tie affair with revellers dressed in their best for the afternoon affair.

The afternoon began with a stunning musical performance from the cast of upcoming Playhouse show, The Lion King. Their rendition of The Circle of Life opened the stage for the day before the awards began to be presented.

Irene Squires-Guild was recognised as a local hero

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The Community Awards throughout the day were given to society’s unsung heroes, which included the Local Hero award, Charity Volunteer of the Year and The Forth Best Teacher award.

Awards were delivered from top names in Scottish entertainment including radio legends Boogie and Arlene from Forth One, comedian Craig Hill and footballer Callum Gallagher.

Hometown hero Nina Nesbit also stopped in Edinburgh to perform at the event.

Wet Wet Wet thanked Forth for still inviting them back - 30 years on

She said: “My mum always has Radio Forth on in the car, it’s really cool to be invited to perform along with the station that you’ve grown up listening to. It’s one ticked off my childhood bucket list.”

The Best Restaurant award was presented to Italian La Rusticana while Sarah Keenan from Carnegie Primary in Dunfermline was named top of the class, winning the Best Teacher Award.

Charity Volunteer of the Year went to Neil Rankin from Street Assist, founded to help the citizens and emergency services within the City of Edinburgh. Finally, the Cash for Kids Award was collected by Paula Bowie, founder of L.I.F.T – which works with these families to reduce barriers restricting families from moving forward in life.

School teacher Sarah Keenan was top of the class

Irene Squires-Guild received the coveted Local Hero award.

Irene has dedicated her life to helping others since the death of her son ten years ago.

Earlier this year, the Evening News reported that Irene took the time to fundraise so that an Edinburgh youngster could attend an adapted high school prom as she was unable to attend her own as she is suffering from severe, life-threatening disabilities.

Marc Almond also returned to Edinburgh to collect his award

She said: “You just do what you would want people to do for you in a crisis.

“It’s about listening to people who are in need, and refusing to ignore them.

“I’m just absolutely overwhelmed by tonight, if you had asked me, I could never, ever, ever have imagined me getting the award. I wouldn’t have put money on it.”

Star-studded performers

The final four awards celebrated the best of entertainment with special appearances and performances from award winners.

Wet Wet Wet took home the award for the Forth Contribution to Music, The Forth Icon award went to Marc Almond, the Forth Fringe Award was presented to comedian Janey Godley and The Forth Scottish Best Artist award went to surprise star of the evening, Sophie Ellis Bextor who closed the show with her chart-topping hits.

The work of Paula Bowie from LIFT was recognised

Richie Jeffrey, events and marketing manager at Radio Forth said: “The Forth Awards are a fantastic mix of celebration that spans local heroes plus the best music and entertainment.

“Everyone at Radio Froth is hugely proud to put on an event which is able to recognise the acts of selflessness of our local community winners, whilst being able to provide top class entertainment from our industry winners and many more.

“Congratulations again to all of our incredibly deserving winners and nominees.”

Community Winners

COMMUNITY VENTURE AWARD WITH GYLE SHOPPING CENTRE – URBAN NATURE RETREAT: Urban Nature Retreat was founded by Sean Carr in 2018 with the aim to create a unique safe environment for disadvantaged and disabled children to enjoy the therapeutic benefits that animals and nature provide. In the last year they have already helped hundreds of children with their specially designed school programmes, therapy session & clubs.

Nominations described Sean as having outstanding drive and passion for the children that attend UNR sessions for development

BEST RESTAURANT WITH CALEDONIAN HEATING AND PLUMBING – LA RUSTICANA: Situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic New Town on Hanover Street, La Rusticana is the place to go to feast on rustic Italian cuisine in Scotland’s capital. Since it was established over 24 years ago, this traditional family-run restaurant has been keeping Italian aficionados coming back for more of their authentic Italian dishes.

The restaurant was described by listeners as a ‘true Italian family eating experience’ with many describing it as a warm, friendly place to dine and also the ‘ONLY place to get a pizza in Edinburgh’.

LOCAL HERO WITH THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS – IRENE SQUIRES-GUILD: Since the death of her son ten years ago, Irene has dedicated her life to helping those around her.

Described as a very special, selfless lady, Irene volunteers and raises money for several causes. She volunteers with Red Cross, assisting with relief for the Grenfell tragedy and regularly supports refugee families.

Irene also provides food bank access and recently fundraised so a local youngster could attend an adapted high-school prom, as she was unable to attend her own, due to suffering from severe, life-threatening disabilities. Irene has also recently become a foster carer for children in need of a home.

CHARITY VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR WITH HERITAGE PORTFOLIO – STREET ASSIST: Street Assist Edinburgh provides immediate support, advice and first aid to people who have become vulnerable, lost or disorientated as a result of alcohol misuse, those who have become separated from their friends, homeless people and victims of assault/domestic abuse. The emergency services are able to refer vulnerable individuals to Street Assist for minor incident treatment.

THE FORTH BEST TEACHER AWARD WITH FUSE – SARAH KEENAN - CARNEGIE PRIMARY - DUNFERMLINE: Sarah is the teacher all the children at Carnegie Primary School want and all the parents want their children to have.

She encourages by example, has an incredible way of building confidence and always making learning fun.

Nominations said that Sarah was an inspirational woman with exceptional attention to the detail.

Parents also praised her commutation methods in keeping them up to date with the progression of their children’s education.

CASH FOR KIDS AWARD WITH WESTWOODS HEALTH CLUB – PAULA BOWIE – LIFT: LIFT (Low Income Families Together) is a new project with a difference.

The company works with these families, aiming to reduce the barriers restricting them from moving forward in life.

The team fight for the

rights of disadvantaged children and their families, assisting with poverty, unemployment and funding in order to progress with life in general.

Non-Community Winners

The Forth Fringe Award With Omni Edinburgh: Janey Godley

The Forth Scottish Best Artist Award With Victor Paris: Sophie Ellis Bextor

The Forth Icon Award With The Edinburgh Playhouse: Marc Almond

The Forth Contribution To Music Award With The Liquid Rooms: Wet Wet Wet

Volunteers from Street Assist were presented their award by Craig Hill