What a night! The inaugural Pride of Forth Valley Awards passed off at The Parsonage with just a bit of a party! Thank you to everyone who made it such a fantastic evening, and a huge congratulations to the winners in every category.
Visitor Attraction of the Year: The Helix
The Helix was borne from an idea in 2003 to build an ecopark as part of the Falkirk Greenscape Initiative, transforming 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth. Today, The Helix now connects 16 local communities through it’s extensive path networks. Opening in 2013, the Helix is now an integral part of Forth Valley tourism and home to the now world-famous Kelpies, a visitor centre and a ton of things to do for locals and tourists alike.
Bravery Award: David Carr
Everyone at Central FM and on the judging panel was touched by David’s story. Diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2014, the then 5-year-old has had to endure months of treatment, operations and other side effects. But still, he managed to complete Primary 3 – even whilst in hospital. His family have raised almost £3000 for charity during his battle and the amount of heart-felt nominations we received for David, show what a special and brave boy he is.
Sporting Achievement Award: Jordyn Smith
Jordyn’s continued success on her quest to Olympic Gold impressed the judges. She couldn’t be with us on the night as she was competing on the world stage in Canada.
Blue Lights Hero Award: Alan Faulds
Alan’s 23 years in the fire service has seen him deal with many major incidents and more commonly, road traffic accidents. As a result, Alan’s passion for road safety prompted him to set up the Central Branch of Safe Drive Stay Alive. In Early 2017, Safe Drive Stay Alive will perform its 100th show, and in the 10 years it has been running, the number of fatalities and life altering injuries in the area between 16-24 year olds has dramatically reduced. From booking the venue to arranging transport for all pupils who attend – Alan has led the way in increasing road safety awareness his whole career.
Community Club of the Year: Forth Bridges Accordion Band
The Forth Bridges Accordion Band is a cross community marching band made up of 43 members from age 5 up to 70 plus! With Over 90% of current members joining with NO musical experience, they attract members from all types of backgrounds, faiths and cultures. Founded in 2008 by Alan Potters, the band provide the local community with the performance and teaching of music and raise funds for the community including Denny Women’s Guild and the RNLI.
Young Adult Carer of the Year: Rosie Dargue
16-year-old Rosie has battled personal challenges and stayed strong… caring in particular for her younger sister Bronte – a 6-year-old with Down’s Syndrome. Achieving excellent exam grades despite battling illness, she also cares for her mum who herself has had periods of severe illness. Described as a credit to her family and community by so many of the nominations we received, the judges were blown away by the continued courage, support and care she shows on a daily basis.
Employer of the Year: Premier Inn
The judges were delighted to learn of the amazing career path taken by Donna Smith. Donna has worked her way up from Room Attendant to Operations Manager via a structured set of training, development and graduate programmes. Starting in Falkirk, her career so far has taken her to both the capital and Glasgow, and Donna highlighted the incentives for staff and the high level of customer service delivered to guests.
Young Person of the Year: Michael Young
9-year-old Michael’s impressive commitment to fighting for what he believes he and others like him should have is highly commendable. The panel enjoyed reading about his campaign to get Translarna approved for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in boys in Scotland. Fronting a petition with over 100,000 signatures, interviews on Sky, BBC & STV and a meeting with the First Minister are all on his list of achievements so far… all whilst battling the condition himself. Michael won us over and is a deserving winner.
Volunteer of the Year: Dougie Brown
Dougie’s spent a huge chunk of his life devoted to grassroots football – giving up his time since back in 1979 and helping develop local footballers in and around Stirling since! From lining the pitches and cutting the grass, to washing the strips and transporting players around the country, Dougie has been described by many as a true inspiration to the local community. Above and beyond the football, Dougie and his family run local classes and events in the community hall… the volunteering never stops!
Community Venture Award: Bowhouse Community Centre, Grangemouth
The community centre was described to our panel as “a blight on the local residents”. The committee, a mixture of old and new members – took the building and completely renovated it. Before the work, it was hardly used… the centre is now running at near to full capacity! Funds were gathered by local individuals and businesses and projects were undertaken by volunteers across the community. And now, whether it’s dance classes, keep fit sessions or birthday parties, the centre has truly become a hub of local activity… and a resource for Grangemouth to be proud of.
One to Watch Music Award: GT Boos Band
The GT Boo’s Band topped the vote… the blues rockers taking the prize after a closely fought public vote at our website. With appearances soon from Inverness to Skegness and an album out now, there’s plenty to look forward to for this talented group of musicians. You can keep up to tabs with the band at GTBoosBand.co.uk
Contribution to Charity Award: Tommy Hamilton
Tommy’s entry was a stand out for our judging panel in this category. He has made a huge contribution to Falkirk’s mental health association, FDAMH. He instigated, coordinated and worked tirelessly on a new women’s only fundraising event, “No Men Nevis”, in which over 300 women climbed Ben Nevis over two cold July days earlier this year. This alone has raised well in excess of £60,000. The positive impact No Men Nevis has had on the women who took part alongside the amounts raised made Tommy a clear winner for our judges.
Teacher of the Year: Mr (Euan… ssssh!!!) Shanks
The panel were inundated with nominations for Mr Shanks. A teacher who obviously truly cares about the pupils he teaches. He breeds confidence, makes learning fun and supports pupils in all areas of their lives. His pupils look forward to lessons, and he’s been described as “the most inspirational teacher” by some. Loved by kids, teachers and parents of Carron Primary alike, Mr Shanks was the obvious choice for this award.
Energy Personality of the Year: Duncan S Fletcher (collected by son, Kevin)
Duncan and FES’s facilities management team provide Forth Valley Colleges three campuses with high level integrated services and they continue to lead exciting projects across the country in mechanical, fire and security, data communication and electrical services.
Local Citizen of the Year: Lee Welsh
The winner of the ultimate award of the ceremony, The Local Citizen of the Forth Valley… was nominated across various categories… and nominated by many.
This young winner is an outstanding example to us all. And he IS… a winner. Someone who has a will to succeed in the face of adversity… be it battling his illness, or battling his opponents!
During his own challenge, he spent his own time, raising money for fellow sufferers and in particular young Millie from near by Airth who was needing funds to travel to America for life saving treatment.
He’s a young champ admired by many for his sporting talent, and adored by friends, families, social media strangers and high profile sporting stars… for the courage and determination he has shown to fight and overcome his cancer battle this year… which he has finally KNOCKED… OUT!
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