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Highland Heroes: Vote for your Carer of the Year

By Leah Williamson

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From left (clockwise): William Urquhart, Louise Borland, Grace Dennison White and Aaron Taylor.
From left (clockwise): William Urquhart, Louise Borland, Grace Dennison White and Aaron Taylor.

Aaron Taylor

DAD Aaron Taylor sees his being shortlisted as a win for his three-year-old daughter who has a very rare genetic disorder.

His daughter's condition, which was diagnosed last year after genetic testing, can cause developmental delay, intellectual disability, absent speech as well as having serious physical impacts. She spent the first six months of her young life in hospital and has suffered episodes where her dad has had to resuscitate her.

But she has started saying her first words and also attends school.

A nomination said: “His daughter was born at 28 weeks premature and he stayed with her from start to finish. He is so selfless when it comes to his four kids. He’s an amazing person and father.”

Aaron added: “It’s a privilege to be shortlisted. It’s an honour. Being shortlisted is a small win for my daughter.”

Vote here

Louise Borland

UHI Inverness nursing student and carer, Louise Borland, has made a huge difference to the life of not only her young charge, Sam, but also his family.

Louise began caring for the eight-year-old in June 2021 providing much needed respite for his parents but also becoming Sam’s ‘bestie’ in the process!

Louise helps Sam get ready for school, has provided overnight care and she takes Sam out for day trips and adventures throughout the week and during the holidays.

A nomination said: “Louise has enriched Sam’s life in incredible ways since becoming his carer. His eyes light up when she takes him on their next adventure. We know this is more than a job to her and the way she looks after him means we can fully relax when he is in her care. This is a rare feeling for us. We would be lost without her as not only is Sam her ‘wee bestie’ but she has become an invaluable part of our family’s life. We struck gold the day Louise came to work with Sam.”

Louise was delighted to be shortlisted: “I was very overwhelmed, I didn’t expect it at all.”

Vote here

Grace Dennison White

CARING for a child is a full-time responsibility but when your daughter has complex needs, round-the-clock care takes on new meaning.

Grace Dennison White, provides 24/7 supervision to her two-year-old daughter, Evelyn Skye, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is tube fed and is visually and hearing impaired. An unimaginable challenge for any new parents, Grace and husband Tom were also working in Egypt when she was born and faced a struggle to get back to the UK in the midst of Covid so Evelyn could receive medical care.

Now settled in Newtonmore, Grace and Tom travel the length of the UK to get access to therapies and specialist equipment for Evelyn as well as raise funds.

A nomination said: “I don’t know how Grace manages to fit in all the medicines, therapies, breathing supports, cooking, intimate care needs, along with all of the sensory and educational experiences, admin, attendance to vast amounts of medical appointments. She is incredible and deserves to have her efforts recognised at these awards.”

Grace added: “It feels a little bit surreal. I just see myself as a mum but it feels lovely to be acknowledged.”

Vote here

William Urquhart

FORMER Millburn Academy pupil William Urquhart is the best of big brothers as carer for his 16-year-old sibling Fraser.

Although graduating just last year from Millburn, William (18) has returned to his old school to ‘buddy’ Fraser, who has autism. William supports him through his lessons, is helping Fraser to prepare for his exams in his first year back in mainstream education, and he spends his weekends and days off with his little brother too.

The brothers share a very special bond. When Fraser reached his lowest point in December, it was William who was able to make the breakthrough. His dedication to his brother goes far beyond what any teenager should experience.

William also spent time alongside his family caring for his late grandad at home who sadly passed away last October after having vascular dementia.

A nomination said: “William has gone above and beyond what any brother can do and even when exhausted has continued to be there at all times for his brother. William’s selflessness has been amazing and he has shown maturity well above his age in everything that life has thrown at him and he continues to be an exceptional young carer.”

William, who is applying for university and also plays for Ross County’s under-18s team, added: “It came as a surprise to me. It’s nice seeing the recognition.”

Vote here https://www.hnmedia.co.uk/highlandheroes/

Words from the category sponsor: Adder managing director, Abbie McCahill, said: “There are so many people in our community who really go above and beyond to help others. Whether they’re in a paid position or in the third sector, they are so deserving of recognition. Without these heroes, the Highlands wouldn’t be the place it is.

“I’ve had a really brief experience in the care sector – albeit years ago now – and I completely understand how hard it is. Often, caring for someone with a disability can seem to be the ultimate ‘thankless task’ and I wanted to jump at the opportunity to be part of recognising people in these roles for the incredible work they carry out every day of their week.

“This is a chance for all of us within the Highland community to come together and show our heroes how much we respect them and how grateful we are to them for what they bring to the table. Whether they’re in paid or voluntary roles, I think it’s fair to say we’d be lost without them!”

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