THEY are the inspirational youngsters who have shown exceptional determination to overcome the odds and the dedicated volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to sporting activity in their community.
The Evening News Local Hero awards, sponsored by Farmer Autocare, are open for nominations and we are encouraging readers to honour those unsung heroes who have made a difference in their area over the past 12 months.
This week, we are seeking nominations in the Child of Achievement category ahead of the deadline for nominations on Wednesday, May 9.
Big-hearted schoolboy Cody McManus won the award in 2017 after his incredible ‘Cody’s Christmas Toybox’ campaign aimed at helping less fortunate children during the holidays captured the imagination of the judges.
Duddingston Primary pupil Cody, nine, brought in over £6,000 worth of cash donations and a further £6,000 in donated toys and has since met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to reveal his plans for the coming year.
Cody said: “It was a really special night and I loved every minute of it. All the people there were brilliant and really deserved their awards.”
“I was surprised to win, but I wasn’t nervous going up on stage because I knew it would help more people hear about Cody’s Christmas Toybox, the whole thing was just fantastic.”
The glittering event will take place at the Assembly Rooms on George Street, where hundreds will gather to watch the Capital’s most worthy residents receive their prizes.
And for the first time ever, the Evening News has brought together two previous awards to honour those who have improved the Capital’s sporting prowess. The Contribution to Local Sport and Sporting Achievement awards have been combined to form the new Sporting Hero category, allowing us to celebrate those dedicated to local sport in the city.
They could be a coach, manager, or a team and is applicable at every level from children to adults and sports clubs to schools.
Hibernian’s cup-winning captain David Gray took home the Sporting Achievement award last year, while fitness instructor Alan Grant scooped the Contribution to Local Sport prize.
Mr Grant, 37, won for his work founding the Fisherrow Bootcamp in 2013, which has since transformed the lives of more than 500 people by convincing them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
He described the award as a “truly humbling moment,” adding: “It really did make my career, I couldn’t believe it when my name got shouted out, it was just incredible.”
“The award was fantastic in raising awareness of the work we have been doing over the past five years, it helped expand our reach across Edinburgh and the Lothians but I think it did more than that when you look at the people we have worked with.
“They are the ones who made the difference and proved that keeping fit is something everyone can do, anyone can take that first step and make changes to their health and lifestyle.”