Community Awards

By Jane Cruickshank / May 17, 2023

AN award ceremony last night celebrated Stonehaven’s community heroes – young and old.

The occasion hosted by Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC, saw trophies presented to some of the town’s volunteers – and to two youngsters from Mackie Academy, who were both given the Hannah Dyson Award which recognises, amongst other things, achievement and achievement despite limitations.

And it was this award that Alastair Lawrie of SDCC highlighted saying how great a pleasure he found it to break the news to two youngsters that they had won the Hannah Dyson Award – despite stiff competition.

”I would like it recognised there were a significant number of other nominations. So I would like to thank those who received them – the town would be poorer without you,” he said.

Finlay takes first Hannah Dyson Award

Making the presentations was recently retired Kincardine and Mearns area manager Bruce Stewart, who introduced the first winner of the Hannah Dyson Award, Finlay Sangster,whom he described as a true inspiration.

He said: ”Finlay has many challengs to overcome daily. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and requires the use of a wheelchair, but this has not held him back. Finlay is neurodivergent and faces additional challenges with ways of learning.”

Mr Stewart said Finlay had overcome considerable barriers to achieve considerable academic success, achieving a range of SQA qualifications.

”Finlay also has a wide range of personal qualities,” he said. ”He is friendly, has a great sense of humour, is supportive of others and is very conscientious to name but a few.”

He added: ”This is in addition to his enviable range of skills, including being proactive, organised and enquiring.”

Phoebe sizzles on the sports pitch too

Phoebe Lawson’s stellar work in the kitchen coupled with sporting prowess earned 5th Year Mackie pupil the second Hannah Dyson Award for 2023.

Mr Stewart said he would try to give a flavour of her successful year, which started with her winning Springboard’s Future Chef Competition, where she was among 6,000 young people representing 310 schools.

He said: ”This was the start of an amazing yar which inluded being invited to attend the Master Chefs of Great Britain lunch at the prestigious Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh, where she was presented with an award for winning Future Chef and in recognition of her hard work, was featured in the Master Chef Magazine.”

In addition to a string of other culinary achievements, Phoebe has also excelled on the rugby field, representing the Caledonia North Team.

”She is a great example of how hard work and dedication can bring rewards,” said Mr Stewart.

Catching up with lockdown heroes

Mr Stewart then had to make a series of presentations to those winning the Community Award during lockdown years but missing out on an awards ceremony. Stevie Smith, now also immortalised in the Carron River lane Stevie’s Walk, stepped up to receive his award for 2021. Meanwhile George Reid and Jim Stephen were jointly winners in 2022. George, in his role as ‘routemaster’ was instrumental in the town’s successful entry in Beautiful Scotland and is an organiser of the Fireballs. Meanhile Jim is tireless in his work with the STP, the Fireballs and countless local tasks like erecting the town’s Christmas tree.

This year’s Community Award goes to Dr David Smail, who with his shopping trolley and tidy up tools is a familiar sight to everyone who frequents the town centre. Unfortunately Dr Smail was unable to attend to hear Mr Stewarts words.

Dr Smail is seated on a stool and painting the railings at the Burns Memorial Garden

”David is a perfect example of someone who goes about doing a huge amunt of good for the communty yet does so in any ways under the radar,” he said.

Beautiful Scotland success recognised – and then Mr Stewart

It was decided to give a Special Community Award to recognise Stonehaven’s success in the Keep Scotland Beautiful Competition, in particular achieving a Gold in the Coastal Town category. The entry was led by Horizon – and accepted on their behalf by John Cruickshank who noted the contribution of many of the town’s volunteers.

And the evening’s presentations concluded with a surprise one made to Mr Stewart himself.

Jim Stephen said Bruce had gone ‘above and beyond’ in the help he had given to community groups. And he noted the challenges faced in his time as area manager.

”He had floods and a train crash as well as the Feein’ Market, Fireballs and Harbour Festival. He used his influence to smooth things over. All these community groups wanted to say thank you.”

the community awards winners with Bruce Stewart. Stevie is wearing his famous orange jacket

Mr Stewart, centre, with the various award winners, from left, Stevie Smith, John Cruickshank, Jim Stephen and George Reid.

Feature image, Phoebe Lawson and Finlay Sangster with Mr Stewart