14 October 2022

Inspiring Aberdeenshire 2022 Winners Revealed

The winners of the 2022 Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards have been announced.

Finalists were nominated earlier this year, before judges met to pick their winners. Those who scooped the top awards in their category were announced at a special online ceremony, which was streamed via the council’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Winners will be invited to a special civic reception being held in November to celebrate their successes.

Inspiring Aberdeenshire are council-run awards, designed to celebrate the success of people across Aberdeenshire and shine a spotlight on the work they do to keep their communities thriving. It is often the case that the nominees in these awards receive very little recognition otherwise for their great work and are true community heroes.

The event was due to stream in September, but was respectfully postponed following the death of the late Queen at Balmoral.

Winners were announced by a range of senior Aberdeenshire councillors during the event which was hosted by Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte, alongside MC and presenter Fiona Stalker.

Provost Judy Whyte said: “This is my first time hosting the event as Provost. Of course, I have watched it from the comfort of my own home for several years, but it was such a pleasure to be involved. It is so important to recognise our communities, almost more than ever. Being able to celebrate people is such an uplifting experience and I hope that everyone who was watching left with the same feelings of joy and pride that I felt in front of those cameras.

“My warmest congratulations to every one of the finalists this year. How the judging panel were even able to pick winners from such an extraordinary group is incredible in itself.”

The winners are listed below. A recording of the event can be found by going to the Aberdeenshire Council Facebook page or YouTube channel.
Community Spirit award

JSK Running Group
JSK Running Group, or Jog Scotland Kintore, was set up in 2014 to fill a gap in the Kintore area for a running group which catered to all levels, whether that be experienced runners, people just starting or those looking for a new social avenue. The group grew so quickly and became so popular that in 2016 they won Jog Scotland Group of the Year.
The remit was extended to supporting healthy lifestyles and sport for local school kids and supporting members’ mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic. They have a strong focus on charity and run a large annual relay raising funds for Kayleigh's Wee Stars and Gathimba Edwards Foundation.  
The group’s efforts were described by the judges as a truly excellent example of a cause to support others.
For a community running group to have 300 members in a community of 4,000 speaks volumes about the work they do to engage Kintore and establish its community spirit.  

Cultural Award

Benholm & Johnshaven Heritage Society
The Heritage Hub in Johnshaven operates as a museum in the summer as well as a community hub and art gallery throughout the year. Staffed by a leadership and a band of volunteers, they have built a strong reputation locally and abroad, both in person and online to promote the coastal strip and promote the little-known facts and heritage of Johnshaven. The group aims to boost tourism and improve the economic and cultural outlook for the whole of The Mearns. 
Their latest project is "Taking the Museum outside", a series of short videos talking to the audience about local history and interesting facts in an engaging way. Johnshaven is a very old coastal fishing village with a long and rich history, so the aim of the videos is to tell the stories of the lives of these families of old who should not be allowed to be forgotten. 
The Heritage Society is an inspiration in keeping the history of the village alive for generations to come.
Beautiful Aberdeenshire Environmental Award   
Caspar Lampkin

During the last four years, Caspar Lampkin has been one of the main driving forces behind the restoration of the Mearns Coastal Heritage Trail from Johnshaven to St Cyrus. This Core Coastal Path had become impassable in many places. He has worked tirelessly to resurface sections which had slipped, to install drains, create natural ponds and plant willow to prevent field water causing further land slips as well as interventions to prevent sea erosion from causing further damage. Through his numerous volunteer days, he has planted locally-grown trees and coastal wildflowers, weeded, strimmed and scythed – doing what he can to maintain this resource.
It is also about educating future generations and he has been at the forefront of education projects on permaculture. Caspar is locally recognised as being the reason that a once nearly lost local resource is now in safe hands.
Aberdeenshire’s Future Award 
Steven Strachan – Inverurie Academy

Steven is finishing his time at Inverurie Academy throughout which he has been a pioneering volunteer within the "Leaders In Sport" programme. 
He has always been first to come forward for any additional volunteering and that has seen him assisting with Primary 1 and Primary 7 Transition programmes, helping out at his old Primary School at Kellands with after-school football and basketball, marshalling at Run Garioch and the Active Schools Running Series and, despite the disrupted school years since 2020, he has also held one of the Sportscotland Young Ambassador roles at Inverurie Academy. His volunteering has also extended into the local community as he progressed from participant to volunteer helper at Colony Park Football Club.  
It is Steven’s ability to engage, communicate, humour, empathise and simply ensure that fun is always at the forefront which makes him such a great role model. This category epitomises everything that Steven has given to Inverurie Academy and the wider local community.

Heart of Aberdeenshire Caring Award
Helen Cox

Helen Cox has provided short breaks and long-term care to looked-after children for Aberdeenshire Council for nearing 50 years, described by the judges as “a genuine local champion” working and supporting vulnerable children.
She came into her role almost by accident. Her daughter had made friends with a girl at school who was living in a children’s home in Rhynie and asked if she could come to stay a weekend. This young girl then ended up coming and living with them for two years. She and her late husband progressed into short breaks and emergency placements to make sure that the kids were getting to do things they might not normally do and were enjoying themselves in a safe environment.
She has gone over and above for the kids in her care and this desire to provide support is what led her son to support children’s panels – proof that desire to care can be passed down in a family line.

Local Hero Award
Lorraine Coleman

Until the summer, Lorraine Coleman is the longest serving teacher at Mintlaw Academy.
Back in 2008 she was diagnosed with cancer but following her recovery she has become a true champion of supporting cancer charities. She is utterly dedicated to supporting those with cancer largely through her work with Cancer Research UK. From school events to events chair for Relay for Life in Peterhead since 2012, addressing all year groups at Mintlaw Academy assemblies, in person and virtually, and sharing the message about her experience and those who have not been so lucky.
Despite retiring, she is showing no signs of slowing down. She continues to work tirelessly to promote the need for ongoing support for a broad range of cancer charities.
A hero in its truest sense.
Inspirational Volunteer Award
Morag Lightning

Morag suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, diagnosed following her deployment to the Iraq war in 2003 and two subsequent tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Since being discharged she has immersed herself into the Turriff community, striving to make it a better place for all.
Her list of volunteering work is vast. She has set up various committees and groups, is a founding member of Friends of Turriff Cemetery and a member of the local ‘Crafty Wednesday’ group. She has been fundraising for a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum for the Women’s Royal Air Force, is also a local ambassador for Op Spartan (a worldwide group of veterans, who work together to help veterans in need), is part of the Haughs Redevelopment group, the Turriff Sports Hub, the Jubilee Yarnbombers and, until recently, Turriff and District Community Council.
Morag really is a Turriff champion, a community champion and someone to look up to.
Lifetime Achievement Award 
Marion Bruce

Marion has served the Potterton community for 65 years. She took over the local shop from her father and, over the years, has continued to serve the community in the shop by keeping it open 7 days a week.
She and her family took the initiative during the pandemic to find ways of keeping stocked with essentials, undertook a grocery and medicine delivery service and kept the paper deliveries going.
Marion and her family worked in excess of 100 hours a week, for the majority of their lifetimes to keep the post office and shop open and serving the Potterton community.
In the nomination her daughter said: “She has always gone above and beyond in her role in this wee village. Her role in our community hasn’t been just a job to her, but a vocation. It has been a commitment and a responsibility.”
She is recognised in this nomination for her part in keeping the community together, her unwavering dedication to the people she served and her love for Potterton.