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Highland Heroes 2024: Primary pupil shortlist revealed – VOTE NOW!


By Leah Williamson

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Here is the shortlist for primary pupil of the year...

Mason Campbell

Mason Campbell
Mason Campbell

Nine-year-old Mason Campbell’s use of the phrase ‘it’s nice to be nice’, is well known among his family and friends, and, in part, it’s what led to him being shortlisted for the Highland Heroes Primary Pupil of the Year.

The Ness Castle pupil, who has previously undergone surgery on his kidneys, is renowned for being polite, kind and helpful.

His mum Jackie Campbell said: “Mason will be blown away by this nomination. He’s had a difficult start to the year; his nana and papa’s house burnt down and they lost everything, including his auntie’s two pet chihuahuas. Mason was devastated but his kindness and helpfulness lives on.

“It’s in Mason’s nature to say hello to elderly people, and be friendly to everyone he meets. He’s a very sensitive and caring boy and even though he goes above and beyond to help his friends and the younger ones at school, he doesn’t ever expect anything in return.”

Jackie concluded: “I’m slightly biased but I think everyone needs a Mason! I’m constantly amazed at the way he takes everything in his stride.”

Lara Hillan and Maisie Hawkes

lara hillan and Maise Hawkes
lara hillan and Maise Hawkes

Overcoming adversity, exceptional kindness, and determination have led to two girls from Raigmore Primary School in Inverness being jointly shortlisted for Primary School Pupil of the Year.

Lara Hillan and Maisie Hawkes have forged a firm friendship.

Maisie, who has Downs Syndrome, limited speech and hearing, communicates using Makaton (a programme for people with learning difficulties). Lara and Maisie have developed their own language, and Lara is learning Makaton so that they can interact even more.

Their nomination said: “Lara thrives in her education and is a shining example to her peers. Maisie has made massive progress in the school curriculum and is always smiling; she’s an inspiration when it comes to showing others how to overcome adversity.”

Lara has also twice had her hair cut short to raise funds for the Little Princess Trust (who make wigs for cancer patients).

Her mum, Gemma Hillan, said: “Lara is not a glory hunter but I know she’ll be delighted to have been nominated because it’s in connection with her best friend Maisie. The girls will be over the moon if they win this award!”

Meanwhile, Maisie’s mum Sandie Hawkes said: “The friendship that our girls share is like a ray of sunshine. Maisie is thriving at school because of who she is and also because of Lara and the positivity that the teachers at Raigmore Primary School bring to their pupils. They go out of their way to be inclusive. They are doing a wonderful job teaching Maisie, and I think Maisie is also doing a wonderful job showing everyone around her that her difficulties are just labels.”

Quinn Young

Quinn Young
Quinn Young

The youngest girl to conquer all 282 Scottish Munros has been shortlisted for a Highland Heroes Primary Pupil of the Year award.

Eleven-year-old Quinn Young from Inverness climbed Ben Nevis 10 days before her fifth birthday. During the next five years she ticked off the other 281 mountains.

Quinn, who is in P7 at Duncan Forbes Primary School, is not only a fair-weather climber, she’s tackled some mountains in the snow and is said to take them all in her stride. She’s learnt valuable winter climbing and life lessons along the way.

Her mum Fiona said: “She just loves spending time with her dad [Ian] chatting and making memories, because he loves hillwalking she wanted to go too. Quinn is an exceptional little girl and really enjoys being active. I’m raising money for charity through Munros for Mikeysline this year and I’m grateful that Quinn and Ian are on hand to give me advice and support!”

Fiona concluded: “Quinn is very excited to have been nominated. She doesn’t think she’s done anything special but to be the youngest girl to conquer all the Scottish Munros is pretty special!”

Inverness Flooring is sponsoring the primary pupil of the year award.

Business owners Amber Rickard and Kevin Mackenzie said the business was fully behind the awards: “We loved being involved with Highland Heroes last time around and we’re looking forward to hearing about the amazing local people that make such a difference in their communities. We’re thrilled to sponsor the award for primary pupil of the year. Many of our youngest students do so much on top of their school work ‒ they fundraise, volunteer, support their classmates ‒ remarkable at such a young age!

“We would encourage everyone to get behind the campaign, vote for their primary pupils of the year, and celebrate their fantastic efforts!”

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