East Fife Mail’s community champions of 2019

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Every year, people throughout the East Neuk and Levenmouth do amazing things, whether it is for a charity, the people in their area, or for an important cause.

We want to celebrate those who do these acts, often with little thanks or recognition.

The Mail has selected ten groups or individuals in the area who deserve recognition.

LEVENMOUTH RAIL LINK CAMPAIGN

Since 2014, the Levenmouth Rail Campaign members had fought for the restoration of the rail link.

A petition organised by the group had received thousands of signatures of support and events it set up, backing the plans, were attended by hundreds of people every year.

Yet, Levenmouth appeared no closer to a rail line, as the 50th anniversary of the closure approached.

Then, in August, the Scottish Government announced that the line would be re-opening, shocking even the most optimistic of LMRC members.

It would have been easy during those five years for the group to surrender hope and stop the fight, stop bugging politicians, stop promoting the campaign – but they didn’t, and now Levenmouth is about to have a rail link again.

The rail link could have a huge impact on the area, not just for now, but for decades to come – an impact on jobs, on education, on health, on the poverty levels in the area.

And a huge chunk of the thanks for this development has to go to the rail campaign.

It is for these reasons that the Levenmouth Rail Link Campaign members are our community champions for 2019.

The group tops our list of individuals and groups in the East Neuk and Levenmouth who achieved great things in 2019, whether for the area or for someone else.

LAYLA COOKE

The Windygates teenager has been putting her British Sign Language (BSL) skills to good use, teaching others how to sign songs through her popular social media pages.

Layla, who has hearing loss and struggles with anxiety, has also helped individuals, giving lessons to help one young son how to communicate with his deaf father.

All this amazing work earned her an award and gigs with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who invited Layla to perform in Dundee and Dunfermline after seeing one of her videos.

FEAT

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) has rejuvenated Silverburn Park over the last few years.

The charity has hosted a music festival since 2014 and winter festivals at Christmas, as well as other smaller events.

This work culminated with FEAT signing a lease agreement with Fife Council for the next 25 years.

Ambitious plans to develop the old flax mill, turning it into a tourism hub, means you can expect to see more of the charity over the next few years.

MARY PARRY

The founder of MyBus, which provides vital transport services to groups throughout the area, marked the 10th anniversary of the social enterprise in May.

As well as providing transport to around 20 groups, MyBus has grown to offer other services, including lunch clubs, and has taken over the running the Letham Glen Craft Centre.

In September, the main bus operated by the service was destroyed in a fire, but the community stepped up and raised enough funds to help pay for a new one.

GEORGE FINDLAY

The Anstruther runner finished his 20th – and final – marathon in October, in memory of his long-time running partner.

George raised hundreds of pounds for charity following the death of friend Hazel Bradley, who passed away from lymphoma.

CRAIG BOYD SNR

The owner of Craig Boyd Hairdressing in Leven set up his ‘back to school’ event for the second year, providing free hair cuts for children whose parents were struggling to cover the costs of getting their kid ready for school after the summer break.

Businesses and individuals throughout Levenmouth supported the appeal, donating uniforms, bags and stationery.

IT’S YOUR CHOICE

Mandy Galloway, Laura Cramb and Beverley Sword set up the not-for-profit food co-operative earlier this year, offering people in Methil access to better quality food for cheaper prices.

The three women, who had met at Fife Gingerbread, set up the operation themselves.

It became an instant hit in the Levenmouth area, with dozens of people queueing up outside the door every week to buy food.

KENNOWAY CYCLISTS

James Keith, Mark Young and Thomas Bremner cycled 252 miles in just 24 hours to support a community event.

The trio, one of whom now lives in Bradford, set off from the West Yorkshire city on June 1 and cycled all the way back up to Kennoway, to raise funds for Kennoway Carnival and Civic Week.

James, Mark and Thomas ended up raising hundreds of pounds for the event.

JO MACFARLANE

The Anstruther businesswoman swam three miles per week in the cold East Neuk waters between September and November, as part of the Aspire Open Water Challenge.

An incredible feat for someone who only learned how to swim just two years ago.

Jo raised £185 for Aspire, the spinal cord injury charity.

LEWIS DAVIS

Leven man Lewis Davis completed a long-held ambition of walking the 500-mile ‘Camino de Santiago’.

Lewis walked up to 18 miles per day for 30 consecutive days, except for one day off, beginning with tough ascent over the Pyrenees mountain range in southern France.

Walking hundreds of miles across the breadth of northern Spain, Lewis arrived at the final destination of the medieval city and cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, to be awarded his pilgrims certificate.

He raised £1400 for Prostate Scotland in the process and had a motion at Holyrood recognising his efforts.