THEY are the Capital’s inspirational residents who have worked tirelessly in the background to help others in their community without the recognition they deserve.
In their absolute dedication to their local area, they have made huge sacrifices to ensure those in need have been able to continue living their life to the fullest and create communities’ to be proud of.
Now, after eight weeks of poring over hundreds of entries, the Evening News is delighted to reveal our finalists for the 2018 Local Hero Awards.
These extraordinary people from across Edinburgh and the Lothians are the unsung heroes of their local communities, often going above and beyond the call of duty only to remain unrecognised for their efforts.
Judges included Jim Kerr, managing director of the event’s main sponsor, Farmer Autocare, Gaynor Marshall, communications director at Lothian transport, Evening News deputy editor Euan McGrory and Allison Barr, founder of the awards’ charity partner Jak’s Den.
In each of the 14 categories, our panel chose the Capital and Lothians residents whose bravery and hard work has gone unnoticed, with the winners to be revealed at the glittering ceremony in June.
This year has seen the introduction of four new awards, including the Fundraiser of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Parent or Guardian of the Year and Sporting Hero Award.
Hundreds of people are set to attend the event, held at the historic Assembly Rooms in the heart of the Capital on Friday, June 15.
Tickets for the Edinburgh Evening News Local Hero Awards ceremony are now available to buy online at www.localheroesedin.co.uk for £55.
THE FULL SHORTLIST
Inspirational Young Adult
Craigmount High School pupil Ryan founded the Corstorphine
Emergency Response (CER) charity after passing his first aid course at the age of 12. Since then, he has performed lifesaving treatment at a number of community events.
Jack has tirelessly campaigned to raise awareness of skin cancer in young people since he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma at 16. Jack has spoken to young people in schools across the country to highlight the dangers associated with the condition.
CHRIS JACQUIN, RHONA SMITH, STEPHANIE FORREST, STEVEN THORNTON and ANDREW SMITH
The members of Digital Orchestra – part of Edinburgh-based Drake Music Scotland – took centre stage at the Asia Pacific Festival of Disabled Artistes.
Naomi went above and beyond when Edinburgh was battered by the Beast from the East, handing out warm clothing to those spending the night on the streets and volunteering her time for organisations attempting to combat domestic violence.
Heather has continually used her voice to promote the idea that living with mental health problems is nothing to be ashamed of and instead encourages finding ways to cope using the help of friends and family.
Wendy regularly helps older residents go about their daily lives when they may not be able to do so by themselves, often helping to deliver groceries and lend company to the elderly when they need it most.
Since founding the Tranent and District community sports club 25 years ago, Paul has been devoted to getting more people involved in sport in the area and enjoy being active.
Trampoline world champion Caitlin has racked up a string on impressive awards over the past 12 months, claiming the world title a junior level in the double mini trampoline event in November and earning a silver at the European Senior Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Ruairi is ranked world number five junior in wheelchair tennis and became the latest Brit to add his name to the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters doubles roll of honour when he partnered Belgium’s Jef Vandorpe to victory in France.
Neighbour of the Year
Brenda hosts annual Hallowe’en and Christmas parties for local children and even manages to gift an Easter basket filled with goodies to children in her community.
Isa regularly lends a helping hand to a younger neighbour when she needs it the most, helping out with the large family at mealtimes and ensuring they don’t go hungry.
Douglas can regularly be seen tending to communal gardens around Muirhouse and ensuring all bin stores are maintained in a neat and tidy way, keeping up the appearance of the area.
Volunteer of the Year
Andy has volunteered with Street Soccer Scotland after attending the football drop-in sessions as a player. He had been homeless and suffered with a gambling addiction, but has turned his life around.
George began volunteering at the St Raphael’s care home shortly after wife Agnes passed away and has given up his own time to improve residents’ wellbeing, doing everything from providing activities to assisting at meal times.
ELLEN & STEWART
As regular helpers on the Bethany Christian Trust ‘Care Van’ at Waverley Bridge, Ellen is usually found cooking a hot meal and organising breakfast, while Stewart drives the minibus helping to pick up those less fortunate so they have a bed for the night.
Tom wrestled control of the Knops beer van when owner and head brewer Bob had a stroke at the wheel doing 70 in the outside lane on the bypass. Tom fearlessly weaved in and out ofbefore guiding the van to safety and rushing his boss to hospital.
Skin cancer awareness activist Jack Brodie earns his second nomination for the awards thanks to his valiant efforts to change the perception of those living with the condition.
Nicole, from Musselburgh, overcame lifelong illness to achieve her dream of competing in the Miss Galaxy Scotland beauty pageant, also volunteering hundreds of hours of her time for charitable causes.
Parent or Guardian of the Year
Dad Jamie’s quick reactions were vital when he found four-month-old son Noah, born nine weeks premature with Tracheoesophageal Fistula, stopped breathing. Noah required lifesaving surgery at two days old, but Jamie was able to perform CPR quickly to save the little one’s life again.
Mum Dawn is hoping to follow son Josh in picking up an award at the ceremony after the teenager won in the inspirational young adult category last year. Dawn was instrumental in helping Josh, who has cerebral palsy, achieve his wheelchair basketball career.
Grace has been absolutely determined in helping her daughter overcome her health issues, making hundreds of trips to A&E, dealing with allergic reactions and supporting her through seizures and other neurological issues. Her love, support, consideration and care have led to her being described as “a rock” by family members.
Teacher of the Year
Stoneyhill Primary school teacher Stefan has been recognised for his immense patience, dedication to his students and ability to tailor lessons for children with additional support needs. The P5 teacher makes sure each child learns to their full ability and is cared for within the school environment.
Stuart Harris has gone out of his way to ensure all of the children in his class have the confidence to reach their potential, no matter their circumstances. Whether it has been re-tuning guitars, encouraging them to develop their writing ability or tailoring lessons to their interests, he has become a favourite teacher among pupils.
Morag is a curriculum head who has overseen a massive growth in sporting activity at Firrhill High School. The school has become the only secondary in Edinburgh to be awarded the sportscotland Gold School Award in 2015-17 recognising curricular and extra-curricular contribution the school makes to promoting and encouraging participation in sport.
Carer of the Year
Support worker Eugene has been nominated for going above and beyond the call of duty in caring for children on the Autism spectrum. The Barnardo’s Scotland worker’s dedication has been ‘invaluable’ to helping them go about their daily lives.
After son Dean was born with cerebral palsy, mum-of-four Karen retrained as a fully qualified complementary therapist so she can provide support to other young adults. Her positive outlook in coping with everyday challenges has made her a popular advocate for children and young families in difficult circumstances.
The 20-year-old has cared for her mum, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, for a number of years, allowing her to live a ‘fulfilling life’ and has consistently put others’ needs before her own.
Iain was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 15 months old, however he has not let that stop him from defying the odds by getting on his bike as he took his first ‘Club McKendry’ Spinning class at Danderhall Leisure Centre. Now 24, he leads seven of the classes a week.
Community gym Projekt 42, founded by Sara, will offer a space for locals to work on their fitness while also improving their mental wellbeing. Currently in a temporary building, the new premises on Halmyre Street will run counselling, mindfulness sessions and a fitness academy, providing affordable qualifications to young adults in the Capital.
Fitness coach Sean Heron has selflessly worked within his local community in North Edinburgh to inspire confidence through exercise. His weekly boxing classes have helped keep youngsters in the area off the streets and doing something positive and he has inspired budding young athletes to achieve their sporting potential both locally and nationally.
Child of Achievement
Charlie, from North Berwick, has never allowed his severe physical disabilities to get in the way of enjoying life. He completed a 159 mile walk to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to raise money for two local charities.
Eleven-year-old Joseph’s charity project Socks for the Street collects and donates new socks, underwear, gloves and other vital warm clothing to homeless people.
‘Kira the machine’s’ battle with neuroblastoma captured the hearts of hundreds
of people across Edinburgh after her funding drive aimed at allowing her to fly to New York for lifesaving treatment.
Fundraiser of the Year
Cancer nurse Fiona was awarded an MBE for her services to the Edinburgh Cancer Centre in 2012 and has continued to work and raise money for the FACE charity through her Christmas fair. She has also volunteered in poor communities in Malawi.
After being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer – Joanna set up the ‘Joanna’s Journey’ funding page, raising more than £16,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, also donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust.
After being inspired by Kira Noble’s ‘Kira the Machine’ campaign, Lee organised a silent auction to raise funds for the cause, raking in more than £21,000 in less than a week.