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Joy and laughter in celebration of Highland Heroes


By Gregor White


Just some of the Highland Heroes 2019 winners with their trophies.
Just some of the Highland Heroes 2019 winners with their trophies.

The Highland Heroes annual celebration of unsung community champions showed "all that was good" about the region.

The awards ceremony, held in the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, is all about those people who, as a matter of course in life, do things to help others without any thought for themselves.

The jam-packed annual awards ceremony is staged by Inverness Courier publisher SPP Media Group.

This year was the biggest awards ceremony to date for the publisher, due to the high numbers of people who wanted to come along and join in with the not-to-be-missed party.

Brave Child winner Lola Aitken.
Brave Child winner Lola Aitken.

The event is sponsored by Inverness Airport and its manager Graeme Bell set the tone for the evening when he said the awards were “all that was good about the Highlands”.

Inverness Courier columnist and “it-girl” Nicky Marr hosted the event, downing what appeared to be a large malt to get the proceedings under way before laughingly confessing that it was in fact apple juice.

SPP editorial director David Bourn warmly welcomed everyone to the evening saying the event was so popular due to the nature of the awards.

“This is the most brilliant of awards ceremonies as it recognises those people who are unsung heroes, people who would otherwise go unrecognised,” he said. “The people who decide the winners are all members of the public, making it a true people’s vote.”

Ms Marr added: “These are the awards that recognise people’s bravery, selflessness and thoughtfulness. This night is full of decent people who are simply doing the right thing.”

Carer of the year Claire Munro.
Carer of the year Claire Munro.

Around 360 people packed into the hotel along with some superheroes Wonder Woman and Flash who had a great night meeting all the finalists.

People were up on their feet almost instantly thanks to a performance from gospel choir Highland Voices. Former X Factor finalist Nicholas MacDonald also gave a superb performance and at the end of the night The Guilty Pleasures band played for those who fancied a dance.

But the most important people, the finalists, were the real reason to cheer. Whether the overall winner or a finalist, everyone wanted them all to do well.

Secondary pupil award winner Dylan Morrison.
Secondary pupil award winner Dylan Morrison.

The overall winner was all-age cycling group Spokes for Folks Inverness, a 100-strong volunteer group who have captured the imagination of the Highlands. With its ambition of getting everyone out and about on one of its bespoke trikes, it carries people all over the city. The group, which recently changed its name from Cycling Without Age, boasts that in its first 18 months it has taken 3500 people out and about around the city.

The group are now looking forwards to making it a sustainable organisation for “decades to come”.

The event also raised more than £3000 for Leo’s Pride, a charity set up to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy.

WINNERS:

Brave child: Lola Aitken

Primary pupil: Aidan and Ciaran Lennan

Secondary pupil: Dylan Morrison

School: Drummond School, Inverness

Community champion: Isobel Maclean

Carer: Claire Munro

Primary teachher: Krista Munro

Secondary teacher: Alan Bruce

Public servant: Joan Murray

Emergency Services: Glenelg Mountain Rescue

Health professional: Jenny Mackay

Volunteer: Kirstin Grant

Fundraiser: Freya Anderson

Charitable organisation: Spokes for Folks (formerly Cycling Without Age)



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